Tag Archives: independent study

Seniors use final Expeditions to explore future careers

By Jon Garvin and Eliza Insley


Expeditions gives students a chance to explore areas of interest to help students find their true passions. During Summit Prep seniors’ final year, they are taking this opportunity to begin pursuing possible future careers through internship and independent study. 

According to Melissa Thiriez, the supervisor of internships and independent studies, 96 students from Summit Prep are enrolled in an independent study or internship. 

An internship or independent study is a path offered within Summit Expeditions. It allows students to choose a possible passion and explore it further. 

An independent study course is an opportunity where a student, or group of students, chooses something they are interested in. They then make a contract with a plan and complete projects to learn more about their subject. They also have a supervisor to oversee that they are on-task. 

Summit Prep senior Will Hill knows exactly what he wants to do: work on cars. As an intern at European Motors, he says he works on anything “from a basic oil change to rebuilding your entire engine if you need.”


Summit Prep senior Will Hill

When asked why he chose to intern there, Hill responded, “It’s my passion. It’s probably what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, just working on cars and making them go faster, making people happy.”

Another Summit Prep senior took a similar interest in working with cars: Jorge Zamora took an internship at a hot rod fabrication shop. 


Summit Prep senior Jorge Zamora

Zamora said, “I chose this internship because I am interested in fabrication and anything mechanical to do with cars … I work there, so I decided to, might as well, make my own little projects as I work there.”

Zamora explained his internship ranges from cleaning up around the shop to changing oil to pulling motors out of cars. When asked why he chose this, he explained, “I chose internships over Expedition classes just because internships let me get out into the world and actually let me see how jobs are and what I want to do later on.”

Summit Prep senior Lily Yuriar decided to partake in designing and producing this year’s yearbook as her independent study. She collaborates with four other seniors to reach their goal of publishing and selling the yearbook.


Summit Prep senior Lily Yuriar

Yuriar said, “We’ve seen kind of similarities between the different themes in past years and want to make it different and bring more of the feedback from students who have been here for more than a year and get what they want to see more in the yearbook.” 

Yuriar explained that she is interested in multimedia and thought it would be a fun project to work on. She can see herself using skills she’s been learning in her future education and career paths.

Some seniors chose internships not specifically because those jobs are their desired career, but because they are interested in developing the skills associated with the job. 


Summit Prep senior Marvin Vasquez

Marvin Vasquez, a Summit Prep senior, interns at the gym Obstacouse Fitness. He described his role as organizing and supervising classes, creating workout plans and helping people with their form. 

Vasquez chose to intern there because he felt it would be a good opportunity to grow his people skills. Vasquez wants to pursue a career in medicine and thinks building his people skills will help him with patients in the future. 

Another Summit Prep senior working on real-world skills is Alana King. She is interning for Expeditions Director Lucretia Witte.


Summit Prep senior Alana King

King has her own interns as well, supervising another senior and a junior, helping Ms. Witte out with organizing paperwork and making her role as Expeditions Director easier by doing some of the more tedious work. 

King said, “When I actually do get a real job, it’ll be good to have these leadership skills under my belt.”

Independent Learning explores different interests

By Ellen Hu and Diego Quintero-Serrano

Staff Writers

Students have many different interests, but sometimes they aren’t able to build these skills through classes. Summit’s Independent Learning course is the exception, allowing students to explore their interests through internships and independent studies.

“I chose this because I love making the school nice,” Denali sophomore Jiapsyh Estrada Tellez said. This year she interned with Expeditions Dean Kalyn Olson as a teacher’s helper.

“We want to make sure that we are offering the time management and planning skills and support for a student to make sure they are mapping out for those 30 hours a week, for those eight weeks,” Ms. Olson said.  Students who are are interested in participating in either internship or independent study next year can visit tinyurl.com/theILwebsite for more information.

See below for a video about the Independent Learning course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Denali sophomores Jiapsyh Estrada Tellez and Daisy Diaz Orozco interned with Expeditions Dean Kalyn Olson this school year. PHOTO CREDIT: Diego Quintero-Serrano

Advanced journalism course will continue building students’ media skills

By Evelyn Archibald

Staff Writer

Summit Shasta is wrapping up its first year offering Multimedia Political Journalism as an Expeditions course, and student journalists are ready to continue. While the intro class won’t have the opportunity to be taught at Shasta next year, students can choose to take Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism as an independent study course.

The AMPJ course will use the skills journalism students developed this year – interviewing, reporting, photography, editing articles and video – and build on them in a more self-directed curriculum. Because it is an independent study, students will lead themselves and their peers in the class, taking more responsibility on deadlines and finding stories, going off campus and working in specialized beats such as politics or sports. 

“It’s a really cool opportunity to have at Shasta, especially since we don’t have a normal school newspaper. It’s useful to have that resource, to write and have the freedom to express yourself,” Shasta sophomore Albert Chang-Yoo said about the journalism course.

The class is mainly geared toward students who have taken MPJ already; however, if you haven’t taken that course but are interested in journalism, photojournalism, working in an independent study and current events, you can still apply! 

Rising sophomores and seniors are the target grades, as it is a full-day independent study. If you are interested, have an English teacher, history teacher or Expeditions teacher fill out this form and email the course instructor, Elizabeth DeOrnellas, at edeornellas@summitps.org for more information about the required paperwork. 

Although AMPJ is a form of independent study, students will submit projects through the platform and receive grades based on cognitive skills and focus areas. The course is UC-approved and a VPA credit. For more information, see Shasta freshman Evelyn Archibald who will be the Shasta Editor-in-Chief next year! She can be reached at earchibald.sh@mysummitps.org.

See below for a video about the Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Shasta freshman Melissa Domingo practices her photography skills. 

Students explore career options through Expeditions courses

By Jennifer Valencia 

Staff Writer 

At Everest Public High School, Celebration of Learning is a time to showcase all of the work and effort that has been put forward in the Expeditions courses. Students get to show their parents how they have worked hard toward their personal passions and interests.


Entrepreneurship is a course that teaches students how a business is started and how it can operate, especially here in the Silicon Valley. This course is taught by Vivy Chao. Throughout the course of the year, students learn how to create, start and manage their own business. For Celebration of Learning, the Entrepreneurship students showcased what they did in their class by selling what they had created as a business throughout the year. There was food for sale, as well as coffee, handmade cards and even woodcut dragons.


Daine Becerra Garcia, an Everest sophomore, decided to sell fruit cups with her friend, and fellow sophomore, Martha Torres. Becerra, when asked what she liked about the class, said, “It gives us an idea of what building a company or business can be like, which is fun.”  

Below is a slideshow displaying what other students decided to sell for Celebration of Learning:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Independent Study 

Independent Study is a course where students can choose a passion of theirs and pursue it. These students check in throughout Expeditions with their supervisor to discuss the progression of their project. During Independent Study, students pick something that they are passionate about. Then they create checkpoints, resources and a final product all on their own.

Here is a look at a few of the Everest Independent Study projects:

Everest junior Shivani Patel (above left) and senior Katie Takemoto (above right) created art as part of the Independent Study program at Everest. They put photo portraits all over the staff lounge walls. Takemoto said, “We recreated makeup and fashion trends from the decades and photographed them.”

Below is a slideshow of Patel and Takemoto’s fashion photography:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


David Nathan Twersky, a sophomore at Everest, studied for the AP Calculus BC test by looking over the material and then taking the exam. He said, “We went through course material, read the summary, worked with seniors on the topic, took the test and are waiting for the results.”


Nico Levy, a freshmen at Everest, wrote the school mission statement in calligraphy as his final product for his Independent Study. “I wrote the school mission in calligraphy and put a frame around it,” he explained. 

 Staff Writers Alfredo Lanuza and Mako Oshiro contributed to this article.