By Andre Byik, Red Bluff Daily News Staff Writer
Published in the Red Bluff Daily News on 1/24/14
CORNING – Travis W., an eighth-grade student at Evergreen Middle School in Cottonwood, rolled the dice on life Thursday and ended up with a career in operation and fabrication.
His salary? About $35,000 per year.
The career and accompanying pay, he said, just wasn’t for him.
When he went through the Odds on You game again at the Eighth Grade Leadership Day at Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, this time choosing his own goals and aspirations, he paved his way to an officer rank in the military and then a career in underwater welding.
Travis said it was interesting to see what his life would be like if left to chance, but taking matters into his own hands led to better results.
They literally are rolling the dice to determine what their life will look like, said Karissa Morehouse, College Options director in Tehama County.
The first time they go through it they leave their life to chance.
Maybe they end up being an engineer or maybe they end up working at a fast-food joint. It’s totally by the roll of the dice.
Then they do it a second time where they actually make the decisions for what they want their life to look like.
That was the theme at the conclusion of a five-day event organized for eighth-graders by the Tehama County Department of Education, College Options and Expect More Tehama.
Really we want them to see that the decisions they’re making for the next four years really have a large impact on the options they have available to them as far as career and college readiness, Morehouse said, adding that, statistically, eighth grade is a flash point in determining whether students will attend college.
The event has grown over the last four years, and the leadership day saw students participate from Richfield School, Sacred Heart School and Bend School, to name a few.
Bustling students rotated through workshops at the casino’s Carlino’s Event Center, which was decked with college flags from Chico State, UC Berkeley, Harvard University and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
One workshop had students learning about the classes they would need to take in high school to obtain a desired career or to attend college, and another was a game of College Jeopardy.
College Systems for 100, an eighth-grader told a Red Bluff High School student volunteer to play.
Answer: 10 Hands raised, and the question followed.
What is the number of UC campuses in California?
Educators highlighted the notion that where students come from shouldn’t dictate what their futures hold.
Many students come from tough home lives, Morehouse said, and socio-economically speaking, Tehama County is a tough place to live.
It’s almost like we’re lighting a fire for some kids to believe that they are in charge of their own future and that they can make it what they want to make it, said Nancy Veatch, ELA coordinator at the Tehama County Department of Education.
As the event came to a close, students were asked to record their goals on a chalk board that would be placed at their respective schools.
Finish high school, one wrote, and another, Katelyn H., wrote that she wanted to overcome her fears and change peoples’ lives.
Katelyn said after attending the event, she gained more confidence in her self, and is aiming to complete college to become a nurse.
I like to help people, she said.
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