Here’s why Cohort III will always hold a special place in my heart. We started together. I had just graduated college and this was my first year as an academic counselor at Rainier Scholars; they were sophomores in high school. And now they are college graduates. How time flies!
Out of all the cohorts, Cohort III helped me grow the most. To them, I was yet another person to meet with on a monthly basis. I quickly realized to do my job effectively, it was essential to build a relationship with them. What I didn’t initially understand is what a gift this would be to me. Throughout the past six years they have shared so much of their life stories with me. That takes a lot of trust, which is very humbling. This work has taught me that what I value most are the relationships and rapport I’ve built with my students
This is a cohort that is definitely not afraid to go out of their comfort zone. Many of them have moved away from home to attend college, two have taken gap years and several have traveled to countries including Cameroon, France, Spain and South America. When I reflect back on my conversations with Cohort III, the general theme has been to define what success and happiness mean to you, and let that be your guide for how to proceed in life.
Over the years, members of the cohort have been separated, attending different high schools and colleges. Despite the distance, the group continues to be strongly connected. During many of our summer events and workshops I see how members of Cohort III take advantage of school breaks to see each other. After one of our mandatory summer workshops, a big group made plans to have dinner later to catch up. As they have gotten older, they have become more invested in the program. As graduates, they will all pursue separate endeavors, but the experience of being a Rainier Scholar is what will continue to bind them all together.