Scholars by the Bay: Charting their Courses

San Fran Scholars

It was my great pleasure to visit the Bay Area last week and catch up with a few of our college scholars. Four students joined me for a group dinner in Palo Alto and then I had the chance to visit with some of them at their internship sites. It was a great trip and all of my visits this summer have really driven home how much our scholars are growing as leaders in Seattle and beyond. I’ve witnessed them gaining confidence as they seek out and win opportunities to grow. They’ve truly become ‘captains of their own ships’, working toward their future with thoughtful intention. There are not following a path someone else prescribed, but charting their own courses. Here are some highlights from my visit with each scholar.

Jamie Li Cohort I, Dartmouth ’13 is working full-time at Yahoo! in marketing. Jamie moved to the Bay Area after graduating last spring, and is coming up on her 1-year anniversary of living in “The Real World”! She has finished two of her three 6-month rotations in her marketing rotational program and she is learning what she likes and doesn’t like in her work. For example, Jamie learned that she actually really enjoys the analytical side of marketing and she is excited to become a data nerd. She is considering graduate school in business and might be taking the GMAT soon.

Winson Law - Cohort III, Middlebury College student is interning at Thinking Beyond Borders, a nonprofit education organization that empowers and inspires students through education to become meaningful agents of social change. Specifically they seek to increase participation in gap-year programs, especially among low-income communities of color. Winson’s research includes studying college access programs and he interviewed our friends at Prep for Prep and our very own Jolenta Coleman-Bush to better understand this work. Winson is living in San Francisco, and has experienced the joys (independence and experiencing life in “the city”) and challenges (expensive housing and reliance on public transport) that come with it. He has a deep appreciation of college access programs and is personally grateful for all the choices and opportunities Rainier Scholars has provided him. He will be factoring in this recent summer nonprofit experience as he explores social entrepreneurship and human-centered design as possible careers.

Ellen Wu - Cohort V, University of Washington student is interning at Facebook in software development and she “likes” it (pun intended). Her work started with a 2-week crash course in coding within the FB environment and now she’s working on developing a cool new mapping app (I can’t share any details as it’s probably proprietary.) The Facebook campus is unique and feels really young. Its seven buildings are arranged around a central lane, with restaurants, cafes and shops. Ellen led me on a tour and we crossed paths with founder Mark Zuckerberg twice. Ellen is having a great growth experience, she’s out of her comfort zone and soaking it all up. Next, she will evaluate whether she will continue to pursue a career in software.

Myles Jones - Cohort III, Seton Hall University student is interning at Google in HR. Myles put his Seton Hall tour guide skills to excellent use giving me a tour of “Googleplex.” He loves working there! There is a spring in his step and a genuine excitement to be part of all the amazing things Google is working on. He shared that his favorite new product is the self-driving cars, which I actually got to see driving around on the 101 freeway. Myles remarked that in this internship he can really be himself and it feels natural, fun and fulfilling.

Segen Haile - Cohort III, Santa Clara University student is interning at PricewaterhouseCoopers (a Big 4 accounting/audit firm). Segen is having a blast in her first internship at a dedicated accounting / audit firm and is happy to be making progress on the path she has been planning since the start of college.  Segen is putting in a lot of hard work and doing well, and she’s hopeful that she might be able to continue her work with PWC beyond her internship. Segen definitely senses that life after college will be very different – she shared that her daily routine is to get up early, work all day, hit the gym, make a quick dinner, and go to sleep.  Rinse, repeat.  She has very little “free time” to pursue other interests, like reading, and it’s dawning on her just how fast time can pass by.

Posted in College Graduation, College Matriculation, College Support (CS), Internships, Leadership Development, Staff VIew | Leave a comment

Summer Opportunites, Future Careers

I’m starting my 5th year as an Academic Counselor (AC) at Rainier Scholars, first working with the Academic Counseling and Support (ACSS) phase 7th -9th graders and for the past 2 years with the Leadership Development (LD) phase 10th – 12th grade students. In my role as an AC, I meet monthly with each of my scholars to support them academically, socially and emotionally. To achieve this I have developed strong relationships with the scholars, their families and schools.

Recently, I started working alongside the LD Director, Susie Wu, as the Assistant Program Manager, as well as an AC I’m looking for greater opportunities to grow in my own leadership, just as I counsel our scholars to do the same. This summer I’ve had the opportunity to go on a few internship site visits in my new role. Typically a site visit consists of a brief conversation with the internship mentor and mentee follow by a small Seattle Aquarium.Kevin Martineztour where our interns are working. Throughout every single tour, the mentors expressed their appreciation, commending the scholars on their maturity, professionalism and positive work ethic.

The site visit at the Seattle Aquarium was notable for a number of reasons; the internship at the Seattle Aquarium is fast pace, but more casual than many of the office settings. Students volunteer as often as they like and they are one of nearly one-hundred student volunteers.

I started the visit by meeting with Dave Glenn and observing Kevin Martinez (Cohort VIII, Bush School junior) interacting with a group of young kids. I could instantly feel and see Kevin’s passion for his job; he physically brought himself down to their level and was able to narrate detailed facts about the marine life. In my discussions with Kevin and Dave, I found out that Kevin had no interest in marine biology until this internship, now he wants to pursue the field. Kevin said that he was interested in biology and science, but did not have any idea what marine biology was. The spark of Kevin’s passion was brought on by learning about marine life and the positive impact that public education and conservation can have on improving life for every being on our planet. After only 3 weeks of interning, Kevin has become a natural marine life interpreter and has drawn upon the expertise of the adults at the aquarium to act as mentors in his learning process.

A large part of the success of our interns relies on the strength of the formal and informal adult mentors that our students connect with at each organization. Doing an internship is more than just working in the summer to earn a little money or to stay out of trouble. A strong mentor is able to help guide our students on how to interact with adults in a professional setting, to understand the importance that seemingly small tasks have to an organizations’ success and to facilitate the exploration of new passions for our scholars. Kevin’s growth this summer reflects the opportunities that are available to each of our scholars which go beyond making them strong college candidates, but aim to prepare our scholars to be the new leaders of their generation.

 

Posted in College Matriculation, Community Support, High School Graduation, Internships, Mentorship, Organizational Mission, Staff VIew | Leave a comment

Nikki’s Farewell

Nikki D at DeskNikki Danos has served as Rainier Scholars’ College Counseling Director for the past 5 years making an indelible mark on the organization. Respected and appreciated by her students, their families, her colleagues and peers, her diligence and dedication to making sure every scholar succeeds, as well as her warmth and irreverent humor will be missed. Below are Nikki’s reflections on her time at Rainier Scholars and its impact.

Over the past couple of months, people have been asking me if I’m excited about starting a new job or sad about leaving my present one. I never know how to respond to those questions, so I’ll simply tell you what’s on my mind on my last day at Rainier Scholars.

1. I am proud. When people ask where I work and I tell them Rainier Scholars, if they’ve heard of the program, they are immediately impressed. If they haven’t, I tell them about it. Either way, I take great pride in associating myself with this organization. I am also proud of our students and where they’re going to college. It lifts me up every day when I think about their bright futures.

2. I am changed. Not that I am anywhere close to where I’d like to be in terms of understanding racial and class issues, but I am light years ahead of where I was five years ago. This job has humbled me, taught me about micro aggressions, and helped me understand that there is a major difference between the students Rainier Scholars serves and the rest of the world.

3. I am grateful. It has been an honor to work with people who live the Rainier Scholars mission every single day. It has also been refreshing to be my authentic self at work. Thank you for allowing me to be who I am and for sharing your lives with me.

2. I am excited about the future. I have watched Rainier Scholars grow in all the right ways over the past five years, and there’s no stopping this organization from changing the landscape of education and creating pathways for students who never thought that a college degree was possible. I am also excited about my new adventure of working for an all-girls, Catholic school. I’m sure it will come with many challenges, the commute notwithstanding, but I’m ready to face a new set of obstacles.

Thank you for making my time here unforgettable.

 

 

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Write, Feel Good, Write More (repeat)

Tom, Barbara and Sarah
I’ve been volunteering at Rainier Scholars for close to ten years now – the last eight of which writing stories for their newsletter. I love it. I think it is the best volunteer gig in Seattle. Why? First off, in the complicated and contentious world of education, Rainier Scholars has its act together. It sets lofty goals and achieves them – year after year. Second, for someone who likes to write, it provides a mother lode of stories. Third, everything about the program makes me feel good.

The ultimate goal of Rainier Scholars is nothing less than helping the segment of our population which faces the most barriers to a quality education, (low-income students of color, most of whom do not have a family member who has attended college,) go to, and graduate from, college. Students enter the program the summer before 6th grade and stay directly involved with Rainier Scholars for 11 years. Since 2001 there have been thirteen cohorts of students – a new one joining the program every year. Each cohort has a different personality, a different style as you would expect when you mix up sixty-some odd students from all around the Puget Sound. But what doesn’t change and what I never get tired of writing about, is the pact made between the student and the program, which is, very simply, if you give your best effort, we will get you into college – a good college where you will thrive.

As you can imagine, there are myriad levels of support and expertise that go into making good that commitment – on both sides of the equation. Pick up any back issue of the newsletter and you will get a taste of the efforts put in by student and program alike. The results are life changing. For families that had no expectations of college for their children, these Rainier Scholars are the first to bring home a college degree.  Take Denzel for example. He enters the program, and a year later is admitted to University Prep for middle and high school. He graduates from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Or Paloma. She enters the program, and a year later is admitted to The Northwest School for middle school, moves on to Garfield High School. She graduates from Columbia University in NYC.  Along the way Rainier Scholars helps them find paid internships during high school and college, and secure financial aid packages which cover the vast majority of their college tuition and room and board. (About $600,000 worth of education for the pair.)

To date, 56 Rainier Scholars have graduated from colleges ranging from Agnes Scott College to Yale University and there are over 500 students in the pipeline planning on doing exactly the same thing. You can run the numbers on the financial aid and come up with some impressive ‘return on investment’ numbers, but for me, it is just as compelling to see these individuals’ stories play out over the years. Each has an ebb and a flow to it. Children growing up in a society where privilege and opportunity exist side by side with financial stress and lowered expectations. Families forced to live on the margins even as the wealth of the area continues to grow.

These are the people I get to meet and stories I get to write when I interview the students, parents, staff and teachers of Rainier Scholars. It is a rich vein, filled with hardship and striving for sure, but also resolve and transformation. I have written scores of these stories and while there are recurring themes, each has its own unique flavor and most provide moments of revelation. Like when a student says he’s “lucky” to have the unrelenting pressure of the nightly homework because other kids don’t have the same opportunity, or when a single mother knows because of Rainier Scholars if anything happens to her, her daughter will be OK, or when a teacher becomes like a jazz musician in the classroom, riffing off his students’ energy. How the world is revealed to these young men and women is endlessly fascinating and satisfying, particularly in a time where educational systems all too often, despite their best intentions, remain challenged in helping those most in need.

Rainier Scholars has always affected me on a visceral level. I feel good every time I come in contact with someone associated with it. It can be Diana’s smile when I walk through the office door, or with Sumiko discussing the differences between Cohort X and Cohort XI, or David graphing an “expectation gap” between affluent and low-income families. It is Kiana writing from the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy, (where I grew up), or Quincy telling me of his dream to be a doctor, or a mother who has given everything towards her daughter’s education. It’s Jimena and Syade, Mohamed and Jakirra, Olachi and Raphael – students who are the future of this country; it’s Ronnie, Susie, Sarah, Bob and so many more mentors and advocates. Individuals and stories of such goodness that I cannot help but be filled with hope and anticipation of the next story to be written.

 

Posted in 11-year program, Bob Hurlbut, Organizational Mission, Parent Perspective, Scholar Voices, Volunteers | Leave a comment

World Cup Life Lessons

world cup soccer ball

At Rainier Scholars our summer session begins each day with a program assembly. It’s a time when the entire community comes together, daily announcements are made, PIC Awards (Perseverance, Integrity and Courage) are recognized and Academic Director Sumiko Huff provides an activity or story that engages and inspires students on their educational journey. The 2014 World Cup has provided great material for Ms. Huff, a fanatic soccer fan who traveled to Brazil in June to be a part of this worldwide sporting event. Here are a few of her “World Cup Life Lessons” for our youngest scholars.

World Cup Life Lesson #1

How many of you have experienced someone telling you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or skilled enough to be successful?

Prior to the World Cup this year, very few people thought Mexico had a chance. They played poorly throughout qualifying and skated in at the last moment due to a US victory against Panama. In the run up to the group stage, Mexico was not even on the radar to be successful.  Before their first game, the Mexican coach came out in the press and said boldly, “I am confident we will win,” and the press and fans smiled and said “sure, that’s great.”

Mexico came out and beat Cameroon 1-0. Then they played the host nation and heavy favorites Brazil to a 0-0 draw. In their last game of the group stage, Mexico surprised everyone and beat Croatia 2-0, easily qualifying for the second round. They came out strong and had a vision to win. They played with confidence, had courage and took risks. They gave 100% and they brought their best to the field. It was heartbreak with the Netherlands in the final seconds but this Mexico team did their country proud.

Lesson #1: It doesn’t matter who thinks you can’t win or says you can’t succeed, never let that affect how you play the game. If you bring your best to the field, you will get results!

World Cup Life Lesson #2

How many of you have ever lost at something? How many of you hate losing?

The World Cup is played in stages, with qualifying rounds starting about 2 years in advance, and including over 200 countries. The final tournament has 32 teams from different regions of the World. The first round is the group stage, when teams are drawn by lottery and play round robin against each of the other three teams in their group. A win gains 3 points, a tie 1 point. The top 2 teams from each group move on.

This year the US drew “the group of death,” and had to play Ghana, a team that had knocked the US out of the tournament twice previously, Portugal, a team ranked #4 in the world and boasting the best player in the world, Christiano Ronaldo (keep your shirt on son) and Germany, ranked 2nd in the world and a veritable powerhouse that had made it to 4 previous semifinals in the World Cup. The US chances of a 2nd round showing (always the minimum goal of any team in the Cup), looked bleak (see life lesson #1).

In the first game of the group, Portugal fell to Germany by an astounding 4 goals. Then the US came out and played Ghana–winning the game 2-1 with a thrilling 86th minute goal by the substitute John Brooks. But it would be their only win of the group stage. They then tied Portugal 2-2, while Germany tied Ghana by the same score. Suddenly, the US was in position to control their fate and secure a spot in the second round with a tie or win against Germany! Oh, but its Germany…

The U.S. played their hearts out, but in the 2nd half, Germany pulls ahead with a goal from Thomas Müller. No matter what they tried, they couldn’t get a goal back. Now it depended on what happened in the Portugal Ghana game. Those two teams were in a heated battle, with the shoreline going back and forth. Finally, in the 80th minute, Ronaldo scores the winning goal for Portugal, and they gain 3 points in a 2-1 win.

The US and Portugal are tied on points. It all comes down to the difference between goals scored and goals against for the two teams. And the US goes through, because Portugal had been beaten so soundly by Germany in their first game. So the US goes through to the second round with one win, a tie, and a loss. And in doing so, they learned a lot about how to play well together, they learned they can come back from a deficit, they learned their young players, including Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin, could come off the bench and have a huge positive impact.

Life Lesson #2: Even though you may not win, you can triumph if you give 100% effort.

World Cup Life Lesson #3

How many of you have ever experienced a setback, or been disappointed when things don’t go well?

In the 2nd round, the US was matched with Belgium, a European powerhouse of a team stacked with great players from the European leagues, including stars such as Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany from the Premier League champions Manchester City. The game was a battle, and the US played courageously, thwarting chance after chance that the Belgians fired at their goal (thank goodness for Tim Howard). They held on through regulation time, extending the game to overtime play, two more 15 minute halves. Then in the 93rd minute, Belgium scores. The US heads hung, but only for a second, and they battled back–stretching the Belgian defense with a flurry of chances.

But as they pushed forward, they had to take risks, and Belgium managed to capitalize–in the 105th minute, Belgium scores again. Surely now, it was over. But with 15 minutes left in the game, the US never gave up, they pushed back with everything they had, and Julian Green, the youngest player on the squad, pulled back a goal. Still the time slipped away–but the US never quit. They battled until the final second. Ultimately unsuccessful for the win, they walked off the field with heads held high, knowing that they had given it their all.

Life Lesson #3: When you face a setback, double your efforts. In the end, you should always be able to look back and be proud of what you accomplished.

Final lessons to follow, check back later this week!

 

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Writing a Letter to Your Future Self

Time capsule 2 cropped

On a sunny morning during the first few days of summer classes, our newest cohort of Rainier Scholars, Cohort XIII, contemplated this question as they bent over their sheets of paper. I was witnessing the making of the “time capsule,” one of the many traditions of the first 14-months of our program, the Academic Enrichment Phase (AEP). 65 students sat in clusters on the warm grass at Bush School, surrounded by other members of their “advisory groups” and their advisers, Rainier Scholars in high school or college who serve as mentors and role models for the youngest scholars.

Bob Hurlbut, founder of Rainier Scholars, was leading our youngest scholars through the process of writing to the “future selves” to congratulate themselves on completing the challenging and intensive first phase of our program. He stood on the steps in front of them, encouraging them to write messages to themselves about how hard they had worked and how proud they were of themselves for making it through. The advisers nodded knowingly, they had participated in this same tradition in their own first weeks of the program.

As with so many other activities at Rainier Scholars, Bob was also helping to instill messages that would carry the students through in their entire 11-year journey with us. The time capsule allowed him to talk about the important values that would serve students well beyond the next phase, to college and beyond. In fact, Bob shared that only a few weeks earlier he had brought Cohort VI’s time capsule to their high school graduation ceremony.

After students sealed their letters in envelopes and placed them in the box, Bob taped the box shut. “This will not be opened until August 8, 2015,” he noted to applause from students. “The point is this…how many of you have been feeling overwhelmed?”  Many small hands shot up into the air. “How many of you have been feeling that this is kind of unfair that you have to do this during your summer? Be honest.” Several more hands were raised.

“You are at the very start of your journey and I’ve heard great things about Cohort XIII so far.” He pointed over to an older student standing at the edge of the group. “Leo is part of Cohort I,” Bob shared, “and there were times when Leo felt overwhelmed and when he felt it was unfair that he was going to school in the summer. But on July 31, Leo is flying to Nebraska to attend Creighton University medical school!” The students turned their faces to Leo and cheered. Bob lifted the box and pointed out the four words on the sides, describing each in turn.  The first word was “Sacrifice.” “Each one of you has given up time with family, and with friends, you’ve made the sacrifice to be here. The sacrifice is real, but anything important has sacrifice attached to it.” He rotated the box so that the word “Struggle” faced the students. “Struggle,” he said “is where perseverance kicks in.  You don’t know what perseverance is until you’ve had a struggle and that’s what you’re in the midst of.”

Bob with Time Capsule

Bob rotated the box again so the word “Character” faced the students.  He continued, “…and from that struggle comes character. We’ll talk about this some more, but character is who you become as a result of that struggle. Are you a person of integrity and honesty?  Are you accountable? Do you value excellence? All those things will come from your struggle, from your character, from who you become. We’ve had two cohorts graduate from college and we’ve seen character that just amazes us.” The turned to the last side, where the word “Hope” was written. “Everything you do today,” he continued, “is about hope for your future. Every class you come to this summer, every assignment you do, gets you closer to realizing your dreams of who you want to be as an adult. “He paused and looked at the faces watching him intently. “I had this same conversation with all of your advisers. One day you will graduate from college and the hope to be an engineer, for example, will no longer be a hope, but a reality, because you’ll look back and say when I was 10 or 11 or 12, I made a sacrifice, I struggled when it was hard, and because I struggled, my character became strong, and because of that character, hope became a reality.”  Bob hoisted the box aloft and smiled broadly: “So, Cohort XIII, this is your turn!”

Sacrifice…Struggle…Character…Hope: An important set of principles and values to guide our newest Rainier Scholars towards the future that awaits them.

 

Posted in 11-year program, Academic Enrichment (AEP), Bob Hurlbut, Community Support, High School Graduation, Student Advisors | Leave a comment

Endings and Beginnings

Kelabe with kids

Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” – Fred Rogers

The final days of June mark the ending of another school year and the beginning of summer. At Rainier Scholars it is a time to reflect on the hard-work of our students, the deep commitment of our staff and the support of our community in creating life-changing educational opportunities for our scholars. It is also an ending that reveals the achievement of some significant milestones as we congratulate our newest high school and college graduates. However, it is just the beginning of the 11-year journey for our newest students, Cohort XIII. While others anticipate a summer filled with sports, swimming and family vacations, our youngest scholars have committed to long days in the classroom and evenings of homework.

July brings a continuing rhythm at Rainier Scholars – a new year already overflowing with opportunity and possibilities for over 500 students:

  • 120 young scholars in the summer Academic Enrichment phase balancing sunny hot days and homework
  • 100 middle and high school students packing their suitcases for summer learning opportunities beyond their backyards
  • 150 high school and college scholars engaged in summer internship placements and career connections
  • 176 college scholars attending 73 colleges and universities in 22 states
  • And by last count, nearly 60 college graduates contemplating what it means to be a Rainier Scholar alum.

The ending of an 11-year journey. The beginning of new career adventures and pathways to leadership. The cycle of a program. The rhythm of change. Welcome to the start of something new.

Posted in Academic Enrichment (AEP), College Graduation, Community Support, High School Graduation | Leave a comment

Another Year of College Admission Success

For the sixth year in a row, 100% of our seniors were admitted to four-year colleges, and every scholar had more than one college option (except for the three scholars who applied Early Decision I.) About half of our seniors will enroll in colleges outside of the Pacific Northwest, and 72% will enroll at private colleges. Of our in-state students, we’ll have 13 future Huskies and four Seattle U Redhawks.

Pick-8707

We are incredibly proud of our Scholars from the Class of 2014! Please see the matriculation list below to learn where Cohort VI will enroll this fall. (Several colleges will have multiple students enrolling.)

Allegheny College
Boston University
Carleton College
Connecticut College
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
Dominican University of California
Emory University
Eugene Lang College
Kalamazoo College
Lafayette College
Macalester College
Morehouse College
Pacific Lutheran University
Pomona College
Scripps College
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle University
Smith College
St. John’s University – Queens Campus
University of Washington
University of Washington, Bothell
Western Washington University

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Season of Celebration

2014 High School Graduates at Annual Luncheon

Late spring marks one of my favorite times of the year at Rainier Scholars, as I attend high school commencements throughout the region and receiving pictures of scholars’ college graduations from around the country. Truly, it is during this time that the Rainier Scholars journey comes full circle. I see the young graduates with heads held high, looks of pride and utter joy on their faces and those of their parents, and I think of the beginning for each of them so many years ago. Each of these scholars and families seized an opportunity, engaged in the hard work that defines the first phase of Rainier Scholars and never looked back as they pursued a college degree and the empowerment that accompanies it. Rainier Scholars is about access to transformative educational opportunities and never is the growth and change which results from this program as clear as during graduation season.

Much of a life in education involves the planting of seeds and cultivation of soil, the fruition of which one may or may not ever have the chance to see. At Rainier Scholars, we are blessed to celebrate with every cohort member who dons a robe and tosses a mortarboard into the sky, looking upward and onward to a future filled with hope and possibility. Our community is all the richer for these milestones. One Cohort II mother sent a photo and text just last week from her son’s college graduation, stating simply, “It took a village. Thank you for being there for the journey.

As I reflect on the last year, I realized once again that a key element of our success is having the support of so many who care about other people’s children and their success as much as they care about their own. I continue to be grateful for the generosity and commitment of ‘our village’, which continues to make it possible for us to provide a life-changing college preparatory education and support for our scholars.

Posted in Community Support, Executive Director Perspective, High School Graduation, Leadership Development | Leave a comment

Envisioning the Future

On May 31st Rainier Scholars’ Cohort XIII students and families will gather for the first time, taking their initial steps in creating a future full of possibilities by earning a college degree. Excited and nervous, these 64 soon-to-be 6th graders will meet each other, get a feel for the program, hear about what to expect and – to the surprise of many – get their first homework assignment. Before starting, they share common experiences as students of color from low-income families, most without college degrees. However, more so than their backgrounds, their motivation and aspirations will help create a deep bond between students. Over the next 14 months, their cohort will become like family.

Dede Wilson, the Director of Recruitment, has spent the last six months working with a team of teachers, counselors and administrators tackling the complex process of recruitment. It begins with reaching out to eligible 5th grade students in the Seattle, Renton and Highline School Districts, determining their fit for the program and their willingness to make the intense 11-year commitment it demands. She has the challenging task of looking at young people and their families in the present and envisioning what the same lives could look like a decade from now, if provided support, skill-building and access to a college prep pathway.

We look for students that get how important this opportunity is for them”, Dede shared, “…that it cannot only change their lives, but also the lives of generations that come after them. We want to find students who we can inspire to be lifelong learners and who can take hold of the reins of their own education.”

In addition to possessing the seeds of the program’s core values, perseverance, integrity and courage, Dede believes that “grit, motivation and willingness to take risks,” are also very important to becoming a scholar. She feels these attributes are required to thrive when faced with unfamiliar and difficult challenges throughout the 11-year program. Rather than simply searching for top academic students, Dede says that Rainier Scholars looks for those willing to work hard and who ask for help when facing obstacles.

The strong bond of students to their cohort, in addition to the support of their families, teachers and Rainier Scholars helps students overcome the fears and frustrations that are an inevitable part of the growth process.

The transformative power of education opens up a world of possibility where folks didn’t think that they could go. It broadens their horizons; it broadens what they believe they are capable of. If they take responsibility for their education, there will be new worlds open to them.”

Education is like a blank canvas that enables students to paint a picture of the life that they want for themselves. They must have the courage to start, create a vision, take risks and try new things. With the support of their families, their cohort and Rainier Scholars, these young Cohort XIII students will begin building the skills to create a future of choice and opportunity.

Posted in Academic Enrichment (AEP), Admissions, Director of Recruitment, Recruitment, Staff VIew | Leave a comment