Program offers students adventure, experience
By Lisa Lac
This year Oakland High has nominated 50 sophomore students for Summer Search, which is a “high-impact program that gives low-income students the opportunities and support they need to transform their lives, achieve their own potential, and create change as role models and everyday leaders,” according to their site.
Summer Search students are selected based on a number of criteria. First, students are nominated by a teacher in October. Students must demonstrate reflection, altruism, and performance, known as RAP characteristics. After they have proven that they possess these qualities, they begin on the application process in November. Lastly, Summer Search interviews them in February.
“I think I’ll get in because I’ve done well in school and I’m in a lot of extracurriculars,” said sophomore applicant Jason Muhammed, who is a member of KIWIN’S and volunteers at the main library near Lake Merritt. “I can’t wait to leave out of state and be in the wilderness.”
Muhammed, like the other applicants, was nominated by one of his teachers.
“This year we only asked tenth-grade English teachers for nominations–me, Trale, Forbes, Allen, and Jones. Each teacher nominated around seven to ten students,” said English teacher Lizzy Vlasses. “Last year we asked everyone and got 70 nominations. Some teachers nominated two students, while some nominated 15.”
According to their site, the Summer Search program services include the following: weekly mentoring sessions with highly trained staff mentors, from sophomore year to high school graduation; two summer experiential education programs, after sophomore and junior years; college advisory services throughout high school; and alumni support throughout college and beyond.
Oakland High became referral partners to Summer Search in 1990 when the Summer Search program first started, according to Georganne Ferrier, who used to teach at O-High.
“A counselor, Mr. Keim, asked me to find seven students who would like to do ‘something’ that summer. Linda Mornell, founder of Summer Search, came and interviewed them,” said Ferrier. “She accepted all of them.”
Junior Mimi Le went to Colorado last year and did some mountaineering and rappelling. She stayed there for 3 weeks over the summer and all expenses were paid by Summer Search.
Because a summer trip takes lots of energy and a strong will, Summer Search requires students to run 3 miles to show that they are capable of such a challenge.
Junior Princess Goodloe went to Minnesota for her first summer trip last year. “I went canoeing and learned how to portage for the first time.”
This year, nominated sophomores are excited to join the program. Sophomore Ellie Cao said, “I want to go to places and learn different cultures.” She has been interviewed and hopes to visit a third world country.
“If I don’t get in then I’ll probably just get a job during the summer,” said Muhammed.