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Students from Thomas Russell Middle School got a jumpstart on their future during the first ever College Day on May 16.
Principal Damon James said the day was created since AVID students were previously the only ones to get a good sense of what it’s like to prepare for college because of the program’s focus on academics.
“As a school, we had not comprehensively addressed going to college, every other year we would take students through a career day experience. Yet, this experience did not share the varied steps that professionals took to be successful, like attending college.” James said. “So we’re just trying to bridge some gaps this year.”
That day, AVID and leadership students delivered presentations to their classmates on different topics each period including college readiness, getting into college, college life, and financing. During lunch, representatives from different colleges such as San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Silicon Valley Career Technical Education, had tables and spoke with students. In addition, there were students in groups with posters representing different colleges who shared facts about their assigned school.
“I think the kids are all really learning something,” James said. “Often we’re the ones who take ownership, and we deliver the information… but to see the kids put on presentations to their classmates, the amount of interactivity and the amount of focus. The three rooms that I walked by, all eyes were on the presenter and the presenter was talking as if they were in college and had this experience, even though they’re an eighth grader.”
Seventh grader Dennis Samboa said the day was a good jumpstart on a conversation that he has already started with his family.
“It’s important to start early because the earlier you start, it’s going to secure your future,” he said. “You’re going to have a bright future.”
Samboa hopes to attend University of California, Berkeley or University of California, Davis and he wants to become a pediatric or family doctor or nurse.
While the students explored college topics, 26 parents attended a workshop about college.
“I’ve never seen parents so excited,” said Marissa Canez, Milpitas High School’s College and Career Technician. “My focus was on my website and the resources I offer ranging from work experience and college resources and scholarships.”
Aanal and Achal Anjaria, who have a seventh grader at Russell, attended the event.
“For us, she’s our first child and only child and we’re learning everything as she grows up,” Aanal said. “So this helps us a lot to see how everything will be progressing for her. We would love to have more sessions and more information.”
The College Day Committee included, Science teacher Quyen Han, Special Education teacher Dawn Hobbs, Math teacher Breanne Alcala, AVID teacher Barbara Knitter, School Counselor Latisha Roberts, Counselor intern Jolene Soares, and Assistant Principal Luis Lopez.