College-Going Committee develop student outreach programs

Joseph Perez and Marcello Garbo

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Bonita Vista High (BVH)’s College-Going Culture Committee, comprised of various BVH teachers and administrators, was created with the ultimate goal of having at least 90 percent of BVH’s Class of 2022 be accepted into a four-year university.


“There’s been a lot of ideas, and we’re nearing the end of our selection process,” AP/IB Coordinator and CGCC Committee Administrator Jared Phelps said. “We plan to roll out a framework in the next few months and have a functional, full version in about a year.”


To achieve this goal, the committee is working on new developments. This includes the campus-wide integration of seasonal themes relating to the college culture. Each theme will pertain to a given time frame throughout the year.


“For instance in January, the theme might be how to pay for college as a freshman. You may hear the same thing the next year, but as a sophomore. The difference is that there will be new content and things to focus on throughout the years,” Phelps said.


Phelps and the CGCC plan on making information more accessible through the development of a committee website. Through this, information regarding the different themes of the college culture will be readily available to students and parents alike.


“The problem is that students don’t know [about the college culture] until they’re seniors, when it’s too late and harder. We want to start early around freshman year and [have] surveys to try to get communication going around what programs are available,”  BVH CGCC member Michelle Mardahl-Dumesnil said.


Mardahl-Dumesnil hopes to use the website to display her own letters of recommendation. She explains that she wants to use her past letters in order to inspire underclassmen to push themselves in high school.


“I write a lot of letters of recommendation and I would like to put this years’ rising seniors on there, what community service they did and how high school was meaningful to them on the website,” Mardahl-Dumesnil said.


According to Szakovits, the current problem is that students enroll in as many extracurriculars as they can handle. They do this because they believe that more clubs leads to a higher chance of being accepted into top universities. As a result, students do not end up tailoring their high school experience to what they enjoy doing.

“There’s a lot of different ways to get into college and stand out,” CGCC member Joseph Szakovits said. “Most students try to do [many extracurriculars] and see what sticks. That’s a strategy that has been the culture for a long time and we’re trying to remedy that.”


The CGCC plans to advise students to focus on extracurriculars that align with their interests. According to Phelps, their plan is to encourage freshmen to try out multiple extracurriculars. Once those students become sophomores and juniors, the CGCC will suggest that they narrow down their extracurriculars to those that they are most interested in.


“We want to develop students and help them create a story to fit what they want to do, and choosing thing they want to do compared to doing everything for their college application,” Phelps said.


There are also aims at increasing more student recognition. Currently, the program believes that events such as Senior Night are inadequate in acknowledging student achievement. The plan is to recognize student achievement throughout the year, contrary to recognition happening just at the end of the year.


The CGCC is considering giving recognition to the following: Compact for Success, AP Scholar and National Math and Science Initiative eligibility, as well as varying community service efforts.


“It is more about showing students that what they’re doing in the community matters. [Recognition] is more of an inspiration for the people who are doing these things, but it’s also a way for others to believe they can achieve something similar. We want to establish an environment where all these things are appreciated,” Szakovits said.