Monday, October 5, 2009

JOYA'S First Student Workshop!

JOYA Scholars held its first student workshop, "APPLYING TO COLLEGE” last Monday at the El Puente de Gracia in the Garnet Neighborhood. Our facilitator Jessica Parris, a Solidarity board member and former Director of Counseling for Collegewise, offered her extensive knowledge of college admissions and heart of advocacy for students and families who lack resources.

We currently have 14 students and 5 mentors who have committed to the Mentoring Program for the 2009-2010 school year and expect a handful of additional students and mentors to join soon.

Here is a report by Bianca Pena, Program Director for JOYA, describing the first workshop:

"Kevin joined us for the beginning and shared a few words with the students - that we believe in them, that we believe college will help them be what they want to be (doctors, social workers, lawyers, business owners etc.) and that we exist FOR them. It was a wonderful start to our time together.

Afterwards, mentors and mentees chatted and started to get to know each other.

Then Jessica taught the students, providing a very thorough explanation of what college admission officers will look for in college applications - everything from grades to test scores, to activities, to the critical personal statement. She was able to provide a very current description of what colleges are looking for. They're no longer looking for students who are involved in a list of things. Instead, colleges are looking for students who are involved in 1, 2 or 3 things that they love and are passionate about. That's a golden piece of guidance!

Following the teaching, mentees and mentors discussed what the mentees were learning and any questions they had. We wrapped with Q&A and announcements - ie. PSAT 10/17/09 test date for 10th graders, 12th graders need to take the SAT no later than 12/5/09 etc. A few of the questions asked by the students are mentioned below...

Gerardo, an eighth grader, asked, "How do you get into Honors classes?" Another student asked, "What happens if you do well in 10th & 11th grade, but not as well in 12th grade?" Briana, one of our two seniors, asked if we could visit some colleges."