Friday, June 19, 2015

Students Share Stories of Growth During Mission Masters

Last Friday, Summit Rainier held Mission Masters 2015, a conference style event where all students shared how they grew and made progress toward our mission of success in college, career, and life. Parents and family members were invited to attend the event and see how their students have made strides to meet this mission..

This celebration of students and their growth was powerful for all involved.Many Bulldogs took this opportunity to share moving personal stories about overcoming obstacles they have faced during their academic journey. One Rainier student, Jonathan, gave an interesting and impactful presentation about deportations and immigration, incorporating parts of his own personal immigration story. Another member of Jonathan’s group responded by sharing her own story of immigrating from the Philippines in 6th grade. It was very moving to see them recognize something they had in common, and feel like an accepted part of a community where they could share this type of story.

Students across the school were all reflective and focused on important topics. Numerous students expressed their appreciation for the event, explaining that they were able to see various situations from a different perspective. Rainier teachers echoed this sentiment, expressing that it made them proud to be a part of the Summit community.

Summit Sierra Hosts Mini-Expedition Artist Event

One of our values at Summit is that every second counts. On Tuesday, Seattle Public Schools were closed due to a strike, but Summit Sierra was ready to make the most of the day with its incoming students. Sierra planned an engaging educational experience that embraced the unique culture and diversity of Seattle. Andrew Morrison, a Washington-native, gave an inspirational talk and art lesson. His session focused on how art can be both a reflection of culture and a life-saving mode of expression.

Above, you can view students practicing the art of expression while receiving their first taste of an Expedition-like course. We are thankful for all our community partners throughout the Summit network who engage students in such perspective-changing experiences.

Senior Spotlight: Juliet from Summit Tahoma

As we continue our senior spotlights, this week we share with you Juliet’s favorite memories and reflections from her time at Summit Tahoma, as well as her college plans.

Juliet says her one piece of advice to other students is, "take advantage of the time you have at Summit with your mentor.  Your mentor will help you as much as they possibly can. They will reach out to colleges, and help you in every aspect of your life."
What does the future have in store for you?
I officially committed to Westmont College in Santa Barbara. Making the decision wasn’t easy. I was choosing between two of my dream schools: Pepperdine University and Westmont. Recently, I took part in an overnight stay at Westmont, which convinced me it was the perfect college to attend. I had an opportunity to sit in on a social justice class where the students were engaged in a debate. It was wonderful seeing the student perspective in and outside of the classroom. Westmont has also awarded me the Dean Scholarship and a few grants!
What will you major in and why?
As I was looking for schools, my mentor, Megan Toyama, encouraged me to apply with a major in mind. She asked me to describe what type of career I would want in the future and consider the subjects and experiences I’ve enjoyed in the past. This made me realize that I valued the experience I had interning with my church last summer. I worked with their communications team on community outreach. I had an opportunity to interact with new visitors, speak with them about their faith, and analyze how we can improve our outreach strategy to get people more involved in the church community.That is why I applied directly to the Communications major at Westmont.
What is one of your favorite memories from Summit Tahoma?
This year, while all the seniors were all applying to college, we had a weekly meeting on Fridays in Summit West where we checked in on everyone’s college application process. Anyone who was accepted to college wrote it down and put it up on the wall for everyone else to see. The whole room would clap and cheer for you during these celebrations. This year, in particular, there are a lot of memories that I will reflect on for many years to come.
As graduation nears, what are your reflections about your time at Summit Tahoma?
Ms. Toyama has been my mentor since Freshman year. She’s been very mindful about getting to know all students in our mentor group on a personal level.  She knows how involved I am with my school and church communities. She also knew that I wanted to stay close to home because family is an important part of my life. This year, she proofread all the essays I submitted and wrote amazing recommendations for the schools I applied to. If I didn’t have Miss Toyama as a mentor,  I wouldn’t be where I am now. It really was the support from her and my entire mentor group that led to this. It’s going to be very emotional on graduation for all of us.

Expedition Students at Summit Flex Their Coding Muscles

Students in the Computer Science Expedition class at Summit Shasta flexed their coding muscles as they created bots to battle it out in a freeware game called vindinium. Vindinium involves 4 bots that are competing for mines. The students have created detailed code to move the bots based on a variety of factors in the game. At the beginning of the year, many of these students had never written code before, but now the students have skillfully mastered the game and continue pushing themselves to learn more.

Summit Tahoma Senior Shares Her Story at NewSchools Annual Conference

In May, NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education for low-income children, hosted their annual conference. This year, the organization emphasized the importance of personalized learning  and student agency in the classroom. Over 1,000 teachers , school leaders, and policymakers flocked to the Bay Area to learn best practices, hear student reflections, and take design features back to their own schools.
Not only did these educators have an opportunity to visit our schools during a deep-dive tour, one of our seniors at Summit Tahoma, Sofie Canela, was featured in a documentary during the event and participated in a panel.There, Sofie shared the story of her immigration to the United States when she was nine, and how she tirelessly worked to overcome a language barrier in order to excel academically. This fall, she will be the first in her family to attend college thanks to the support she received from her family, mentor, teachers, and friends.
Want to hear Sofie's story firsthand? Watch this video, made possible by NewSchools Venture Fund and StartupEd.

Summit Students Practice Their Civic Duties During Mock Trial

Summit students in Lissa Thiele’s Sociology of Law class put on a Mock Trial during their Celebrations of Learning event. Students presented the case of The Republic of Rome v. Marcus Junius Brutus. The entire class participated and no one had any idea what the verdict would be! Present at the trial was the Prosecution Team, Defense Team, numerous witnesses, the Judge and the Bailiff. The jury, made up of peers and one parent participant, deliberated at the end of the trial and handed down their verdict.
Want to learn if justice was served? You can check out the mock trial in its entirety by visiting the following link:

Students were asked to reflect on their experience participating in the mock trial. Here are a few excerpts of what they had to say:

“I am now really excited to serve in a jury. It seems very interesting to have a say in the government and how people get prosecuted. I also really liked the case because I was leaning towards both sides and it was cool to see how the jury gave the final verdict. It was a truly unique learning experience I am sure not to ever forget.”
 - Elias A.

“Everyone was able to see, first hand, the effort and dedication that people put into the trial. There was so much passion that people had and who you are as a teacher was really able to shine through. My parents were going on and on about it in the car. They were saying this was the best class I could have possibly taken and that it was obvious I got a lot out of it.” - Christina K.

“I have no other words to describe last night's trial other than amazing. It completely exceeded my expectations.” - Madison S.

Freshman Speeches to Senior Political Activism Projects

In the last weeks of schools, students were intensely working on culminating projects from freshman speeches to senior political activism projects. At Summit Prep, senior Laurel N. passionately pitched how we would have enough food to feed the world if we reduced global food waste and loss. Laurel is heading to the University of Montana in the fall to participate in the Global Leadership Initiative and study community health. She “wants to help to bring food security around the world.” She argues, “we have the resources to save our food but we take it for granted.” Laurel’s passion was sparked during her time volunteering in Latin America, as well as helping to hand-pick 20,000 cucumbers that would have been tossed from a plant and instead donating it to Northwest Harvest. We are excited to see the changes she and other students will make in their community and our world as they continue their education!