South Kern students visit UC Berkeley

January 13, 2012 /

Migrant Program youth attend a workshop during their visit to UC Berkeley./Courtesy Photo


BERKELEY—During the summer  28 students from South Kern took off to a three-day trip to UC Berkeley.

Students from various schools in the Kern High School District and members of the migrant program got a first-time experience at UC Berkeley campus.

    The impact of the program held high expectations.

For Project Director Consultant for the Migrant Program Oscar Luna hoped to enrich the students both socially and educationally.

“We want them to see that a prestigious university such as Berkeley is attainable,” said Luna. “We need them to feel ready so that they not only graduate, but graduate with a good stand.”

Indeed, the experience proved to be full of benefits for the students. Upon their arrival, they unpacked their bags and settled into their dorms.

After eating a meal at the university’s dining hall, the group began their college experience with informational sessions.

The students received tips from a counselor in the office of undergraduate admission on how to make their applications an impressive. Students were encouraged to ask questions and seek for further details.

Students were in complete awed when the toured the campus. For some, this was the first time visiting an UC campus.

Senior Adrian Chavez from Arvin High School was particularly impressed with the tours.

“They made everything seem very fun like there’s a lot to learn,” said Chavez. “I like that everything was hands on…the best part: (is) that I could experience it.”

Indeed the students were encouraged to participate and to actively interact with their environment. The created 3D visuals, made ice cream and brought flowers to a lecture with a well-known professor. Students enjoyed many impressive activities.

Throughout the three-day campus tour, students attended  interactive and informational sessions from the university’s colleges. These colleges included: optometry, engineering, environmental design, chemistry, and natural resources.

One of the main focuses of the program relied on a social and educational basis. Students were encouraged to build relationships with students that had once been in the same position as them: undecided. Now these students are successful UC Berkeley students with experiences to share and stories to tell.

The open discussion sessions with UC Berkeley students allowed for the students to ask questions about the social atmosphere and personal struggles they had to face. No question was left unanswered, the conversation was fun and inviting, the high school students developed a close relationship with them.

The high school students also met with alumni of UC Berkeley, who themselves had much to share.  Students were impressed with all that they had accomplished and still wished to do.

As the experience came to an end, students like Maribel Baltazar from Golden Valley High School reflected on the growth that resulted from the experience.

“I know that I want to go to a university and now I now exactly what I have to do to get there. This experience changed me forever,” said Baltazar. “What I will always remember is what they said at the end ‘We won’t say goodbye, only see you later.’”

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