Tag Archives: College Readiness

Student panelists share college experience with Rainier

By Karla Tran

Staff Editor

The college students who came to Rainier asked and answered questions about what college life is like after high school. Questions such as “What’s college life like?” and “Is college fun?” gave Rainier students enrolled in the Expeditions course College Readiness a sense of what college looks like.

On Sept. 19, a group of college students had a panel about College Readiness which took place in Expeditions teacher Melissa Thiriez’s room.

Four current college students, three of whom graduated from Rainier, came back to share their own personal experience applying to colleges and their day-to-day life on a college campus. They also shared things such as what they would do differently in high school and gave the Rainier students advice about college. 

Kenson Nguyen explained, “I was choosing between two or three schools. I guess as soon as I visited UCLA, I knew that UCLA was for me. It was one of the best schools I got in to.”

Jesus Lopez added, “I was expecting to be a little bit out of me comfort zone because I know that college is going to be challenging for myself. But it’s honestly, no matter what, you’ll never be alone. If you think that you’re suffering in college, everyone going through college is too.”

Lopez continued, “I guess that I would just say that time really does fly by. Once you’re a junior, the next thing you know you’ll be graduating high school. So I would say that it’s important to be in the moment and use your time wisely because if you choose to work hard, you can do anything you please.”

At the student panel, Rainier students got a little bit more insight of what they can expect in college. Some students learned that college can be difficult; but if they choose to work hard, they can accomplish anything. The college students that came to the panel taught the students to not be scared to take risks both in school and in life overall.

Featured image (at the top of this post): Student panelists come in to Rainier’s College Readiness course to share and answer questions about their own college experiences with the students. PHOTO CREDIT: Karla Tran

College Readiness changes how students view college

By Alex Twoy

Staff Writer

As soon as you walk into College Readiness, you can feel the curiosity and eagerness in the room. College Readiness is a mandatory Expeditions course for all Summit students during their junior year of high school. In the course, students come up with life plans, take steps to make themselves more competitive in the college admissions process and prepare for scholarship and loan applications.

College Readiness teacher Melissa Thiriez said that College Readiness can change students’ points of view about college. “I’ve seen my students grow in a lot of different ways,” she said. Her favorite part is seeing students’ views change “over time because of their own realizations” and “because of their new experiences.”

Denali junior Ellen Hu said that College Readiness changed her point of view about college. Her favorite part of the course was “being able to explore different colleges and see what options I had.” She added, “We had talked about it before with our mentors, but I had never really explored them myself and this gave me the opportunity to learn different tools and different things that I needed in order to find those schools.”

Denali junior Tamara Pacheco said that a key aspect of College Readiness is keeping an open mind. “Be open-minded, honestly,” she said. “Some don’t realize how helpful the class can be.”

See below for a video about the College Readiness course:

College Readiness provides advice for juniors

By Christian Frias and Cathy Ly

Staff Editors

The College Readiness Expeditions course is about life planning. Some of the topics the students discuss in class are their budget for college, what college they want to go to, what they want to major in when they get to college, etc.

Rainier junior Alan Do said, “Don’t procrastinate because in this class you’re going to be writing a personal statement that you will need for senior year, and you’re going to be calculating your finances, and you will really need to know all those details so you aren’t like struggling with finances and stress through your most important year through high school and your last year of high school.”

Rainier seniors have expressed that the course helped them with the college application process. Rainier senior Katherine Lim said, “After taking this course we were more familiar with the process of applying – all the student loans and all the scholarships – and the teacher actually sat there and explained things to us.”

See below for a video about the College Readiness course:

Expeditions course prepares students for the college process

By Zachary Navarra

Staff Writer

Amber Fields hopes to turn College Readiness from a class that is required for all juniors to a class all juniors want to take. The course itself is intended to help students navigate the college application process and prepare them for life after Shasta. Ms. Fields hopes to create personal connections with each of her students to further assist them with their college goals and plans.

Shasta junior Kathryn Currier-Herzallah said she believes that College Readiness allows students “to enjoy the privilege of lots of independent work time and self direction that you don’t necessarily get in other Expeditions. The work is researched based that you complete at your own liberty.” She continued by saying,“Ms. Fields is what I hope college is like.”

Ms. Fields said that, “I ask students to be vulnerable and also just be open.” She intends to create an environment where she can work with students to further their understanding of the college process and what they want to do with their lives after Shasta.

See below for a video about the College Readiness course:

Summit Shasta gets students ready for college

By Kalysta Frost

Staff Writer

Summit Shasta’s mission is to prepare students for success in college.

Senior year can be a very tough year because of college applications and the college admissions process as a whole. One way Summit Shasta helps their students get ready for college is the College Readiness Expeditions course, which is mandatory for junior students.

College Readiness teachers Keith Brown and Amber Fields discussed what the College Readiness class at Summit Shasta looks like.


College Readiness Expeditions teacher Keith Brown PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Mr. Brown explained, “The four projects that the students cover are number one: what students want to do with their life; number two: how colleges handle admissions; number three: financial aid; and number four: resumes and personal statements.”


College Readiness Expeditions teacher Amber Fields PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Ms. Fields said a bit more about what students are learning: “Right now, we’re designing a life plan in order to help students think about future goals for themselves.”

She continued, “They are also learning how to be the most competitive component and being more confident in their beliefs.”

Shasta junior Julian Caneda-Santos and senior Parmvir Siryh shared their experience taking College Readiness.


Shasta junior Julian Caneda-Santos PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Caneda-Santos shared, “It’s been helpful. Before this class, I didn’t know what to major in.” She added, “It’s helped me with knowing what the application will ask and knowing how to get financial aid.”


Shasta senior Parmvir Siryh PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Siryh shared, “Yes, I have a much stronger base of understanding college. We had our college list done by the end of last year.”

Both College Readiness teachers said that during their classes students are generally doing more work than listening to lectures.

Ms. Fields explained, “This round is more focused on work for college. For round 1, there were definitely more lectures.

Mr. Brown shared why he thought this class is mandatory for junior students: “A whole year of prep for students can make applications easier.”

The College Readiness class has a lot of pros to it, but a class can’t be perfect.

Ms. Fields shared that she met a couple of senior students last year who said that the class didn’t completely help with their college process and that they needed more help with their applications.

Ms. Fields expressed, “The class is more focused on four-year universities. Not focusing on other options. Not being able to take it a step further.”

Caneda-Santos and Siryh explained more about how the mentor system at Shasta also helps with their college process.

Caneda-Santos said that she meets and talks with her mentor about college every two weeks.

Siryh shared, “We started talking about the college process during freshman year. It really started to pick up during junior year.” Siryh continued, “I talk about college with my mentor every day.”

Anu Pattabiraman

Shasta senior mentor Anu Pattabiraman PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Shasta senior mentor Anu Pattabiraman explained how she helps her students get ready for college. 

Ms. Pattabiraman said that her students had a different mentor during their freshman and sophomore year, but she believes that their past mentor also talked a little bit about college with them. She stated that she talked to them more seriously about college during junior year and that she talks to her senior mentees right now about college at least once a week.

Ms. Pattabiraman shared, “Last year we started talking about what majors they’re interested in and what college they want to go to.”

Ms. Pattabiraman also gave her mentees last year deadlines to sign up for the SAT. Ms. Pattabiraman said that this year she helps them figure out where they want to apply, as well as assisting them with recommendation letters and revising and brainstorming college essays.

When asked if he thought that if he went to a different high school that he would get as much help in preparing for college, Siryh answered, “Not at all, no way. It would be really hard to understand the college process. This school gets you understanding the SAT.”

When asked if she thought that her mentees would bring with them habits of success while they’re in college, Ms. Pattabiraman said, “I think every mentee is developing habits. They will develop habits once they get there and are independent.”

Expeditions experiences help students explore their futures

By Teresa Faasolo

Staff Writer

Students from Everest Public High School spent the last few weeks of school in their Expeditions classes, where they explored their interests on a personal and professional level. At the end of the year, students showcased their learning to parents and school staff at an event called Celebration of Learning. Here’s some insight from students who chose to work to further their education and their future.

Education Pathways

Education Pathways educates students about some particular flaws within the educational system, as seen through the eyes of an educator. Students visited schools, watched educational videos and sat through lectures about multiple subjects that could pop up as flaws within the educational system. They also learned teaching techniques.

For Celebration of Learning, students in the Education Pathways course presented about their experiences in the time they spent within the course.


Through a TED Talk, Everest freshman Lindsey Pulido learned about how “Self Love” can boost people’s self-esteem.


Everest freshman Vanessa Castro learned about the ZPD (also known as Zone of Proximal Development). She stated that it was about “the difference between what a learner can do without help and what they can do with help.”


Everest freshman Ximena Bustamante presents her poster summarizing her experience at Garfield, where she went to help out elementary teachers. She was able to learn the basics of teaching and was able to spend time with the kids.


College Readiness

In College Readiness Expeditions course, juniors study and research several colleges that fit into the following four categories: financial safety, likely, target and reach. These four categories help determine their chances for admission and their goals to improve either their grades or their half-built resumes for future college applications. Students are also educated about different financial strategies to pay for college. They learn about loans, grants, scholarships and work study.

Each student is encouraged to pursue higher education in order to better their chances of receiving higher pay and finding a fulfilling personal career. Therefore, they make their decisions about how many colleges they want to apply to and they adjust their choices to their preferences in areas such as student population, location and student services. Mainly, this Expeditions course provides a head start on college applications and essays that students must complete in their senior year.

During Celebration of Learning, students presented their selected colleges and all the information that they gathered over the course. Parents were able to see the colleges that their children are interested in, and students demonstrated that they will be able to create future plans to set them on a good path.


College Readiness students created portfolios describing which schools they want to apply to and why those schools are a good fit. PHOTO CREDIT: Shawn Wilson

Sociology of Law

Students in the Sociology of Law Expeditions course are educated about current events that are associated with politics and social science. They dive deep into the subject of law and discuss how to handle certain situations with law enforcement, as well as educating themselves about their basic human rights. Furthermore, students learn more about other social issues.

For Celebration of Learning, students had a Socratic seminar where they discussed their experiences and debated social issues. Parents were able to join the discussion, as they could learn from the experience in a similar way to how students were educated about the subject over the school year.

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Parents and students participate in a Socratic seminar for the Sociology of Law course. PHOTO CREDITS: Jesus Yepez



Everest sophomore Bella Gutierrez PHOTO CREDIT: Jesus Yepez

“You would think that law class is really boring, but Ms. Thiele makes it interactive. She makes us watch documentaries about a current topic that we are talking about and makes us discuss it as a group. She also makes sure that it is a full class participation and that no one is left out,” Everest sophomore Bella Gutierrez, who serves as a TA for the course, explained. 

“Ms. Thiele teaches us how to protect ourselves in case of any interactions with law enforcement and also as young adults knowing the law and different social issues we need to know about. She also teaches us around basic human rights so we never have them taken away.”



Staff Writers Shawn Wilson and Jesus Yepez contributed to this report. 





Summit Prep students show their families what they have learned in Expeditions

By Kristian Bekele 

Staff Writer  

On May 25, Summit Prep students demonstrated all that they have learned to peers and parents in what is known as the Celebration of Learning showcase. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., students from the Expeditions classes Education Pathways, College Readiness and Sociology of Law showed off what they learned in the eight weeks of Expeditions.

Education Pathways 

In Education Pathways, students learn about the educational system and its flaws from an educator’s perspective. Students went to schools and shadowed teachers as they learned about the achievements and problems of educational systems.

For their final product, students got to choose between modeling their career pathways and how they would achieve their goals or highlighting a specific flaw in the educational system.


Summit Prep freshman Armando Sanchez and sophomore Brandon Kerney look over Kerney’s final product.


Summit Prep junior Angela Chung shows her plans to attend Cornell University and Harvard in order to achieve a career as an architect. She said that the reason why she wants to be an architect is because she likes how architecture combines various elements such as math, drawing and design to make structures.


College Readiness 

College Readiness is a mandatory course where juniors learn about college and the application process. Summit Prep juniors showcased their college applications to fellow classmates, teachers and parents. As part of their final product, students made a slideshow demonstrating what colleges they wanted to go to, the necessary qualifications and their reasoning for choosing those schools.


Summit Prep junior Paola Godoy presents her college plan to her mentor Bree Hawkins.



Summit Prep Dean Mary Beth Thompson talks to her mentees, Juan Reyes and Jesus Pichardo, about their college choices.


Sociology of Law 

“There is no such thing as a good person or a bad person, only good and bad choices.” S. Dawson’s quote is something the Sociology of Law class learns from the moment they step inside the classroom commanded by Expeditions teacher Lissa Thiele, who also serves as a Juvenile Justice Commissioner.


Sociology of Law teacher and Juvenile Justice Commissioner Lissa Thiele

During Celebration of Learning, the class had a Socratic Seminar involving parents and students debating whether armed guards were allowed in schools. The topic was thus because the class had been studying the Second Amendment and mass shootings. They had watched a documentary on Columbine earlier in the round, and the documentary was still fresh in their minds.

During the Socratic, the group discussed mental health because a majority of school shooters have been shown to have mental issues. The topic of damaged masculinity was also brought up early in the conversation.

Damaged masculinity is when a man’s masculine qualities are destroyed by someone finding and exposing their weakness and ridiculing them for it. Because most mass shooters are men, this damaged masculinity plays a huge role in the number of youth dying per year from mass shootings.

At the start of the Socratic, parents and students who participated seemed to agree on one thing: In different situations, people feel safer with armed guards, but they don’t feel safe with an armed guard in the school.

Staff Writers Micah Tam, Tyler McGuire and Darya Worsell contributed to this report. 

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