For the third year, STRIVE gave opportunity to Native American students from the region, some for the first time. STRIVE, a residential summer leadership symposium program for Native American high school students, was organized and led by the Native American Program at Central Oregon Community College.
The goal of STRIVE is to give young Native American students cultural and academic support, according to Gina Ricketts, Native American Program Coordinator at COCC.
“Research shows that students are more likely to attend college if they are able to actually go and be on campus and see the campus culture before,” Ricketts said.
The 19 students who attended the event from Aug. 21-24 spent the week participating in academic and cultural classes, activities, field trips and stayed in the on-campus residence hall.
One important aspect of what STRIVE offers is the ability for students to be able to see themselves in college, Ricketts explained.
“Most of these students don’t always come from families who know much about college,” Ricketts said. “Through STRIVE, we are able to connect these high school students with successful Native American college students at COCC.”
Additionally, during this time, students are given the opportunity to support their cultural beliefs through activities such as songs, drumming, and prayers.
The program incorporated college mentors into the training to help the students see themselves in college. Gabe Swazo, one of the college mentors called STRIVE a “rewarding experience for all involved.”
“As a college mentor, we get a chance to share our own experiences as Native Americans in a college setting,” Swazo said.
STRIVE was funded in part by the Minority Pipeline Grant and the rest was funded by the Native American Program at COCC.
After years of planning and gathering resources and funding, the COCC Latino Program was able to offer a summer program to encourage Latino students to attend college. The GANAS Summer Symposium for Latino Student College Success was held from June 21-24 on the COCC Bend Campus. During the event, students participated in cultural workshops and higher education activities.
The program was a “huge success,” according to COCC Latino Program director, Evelia Sandoval. Twenty-three students from four area high schools attended the event and were able to gain college credit.
The students had opportunities to meet with Latino business owners and participate in scholarship workshops leading up to their final project of building a project board to present.
“One of the goals of this year’s workshop was to focus on science and culture and expose students to [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields,” Sandoval said. “Latino’s are the minority in those areas, so this gives us the opportunity to open it up to them.”
Some of the students who attended the program had previously been enrolled in ¡Avanza! which is a college preparation program for Latino students that emphasizes leadership, academia, and cultural relevance. The summer program was a continuation of what ¡Avanza! aims to do year-round, according to Willan Cervantes, director of Central Oregon Community College’s ¡Avanza! program
“It gave students the opportunity to experience college without being intimidated,” Cervantes said. “They then begin to see themselves in college.”
Molly Svendsen | The Broadside