Summer workshop teaches teens the ‘write’ stuff
Helps keep students sharp
LANCASTER, Calif. —While summer jobs are scarce and activities are limited, teens don’t have to go through the next two months without making use of their time.
Rising Star College Program hosted a four-day writing workshop for high school students, where youngsters learned the basics of how to effectively and efficiently write essays to better prepare them for college.
Although English courses in school teach students the basics of writing, there is nothing like a bit of practice and college preparation.
Sharon Cathcart, vice president of the organization, says pupils will have a better foundation, when they begin to apply for college, seek out scholarships, and prepare for career.
“The purpose of the workshop is to help students improve their writing skills,” Cathcart explained. This year, four instructors from various professions shared their knowledge with the students, preparing them to be star writing performers.
Students learned creative writing skills, critical thinking and writing techniques, as well as the five components of writing. Since the debut of the workshop last year, at least three students, who attended, have graduated from high school, and gone on to successfully started their college careers in New York and Louisiana.
Cathcart said superior writing skills are critical for transitioning students. She said, “When (admission counselors) are reading their essays, that is their first impression. If you don’t have good writing skills, you may not get much farther in the application process.”
Rising Star also hosts seminars, workshops, college tours, and other educational activities for youth in the Antelope Valley year round. Students and parents attend educational classes about career development, college preparedness, and financial literacy. The organization emphasizes parent involvement in their children’s education.
“Our goal is to make sure the parents are involved in their students’ education; looking at grades, really encouraging parents to get involved at the schools, and meet the teachers. If they aren’t involved, their children just fall between the cracks.”
Rising Star was established in 2007. The organization has taken a handful of students outside of the valley each year, touring college campuses, visiting museums, going on career tours, and even visiting the nearby historic Black township of Allensworth.
The vice president, who is retired, dedicates her time to the growth and future of young people in the AV. She says getting them out of the valley is important, because many students graduate high school and never leave the area, limiting their independence and growth.
“It seems like (young people) think there is nothing to look forward to,” she lamented. “Many of them don’t want to go out, because they don’t know what’s out there.”
While introducing her students to endless possibilities outside of the AV, Cathcart emphasizes the responsibility of the parents to encourage and prepare their children to venture out into the world.
She says many parents want their children to attend school locally because they are afraid their child is not ready to leave home.
With this writing workshop and other programs, Cathcart believes AV students will have a better chance to build a better future.
In addition to the writing workshop, Rising Star is also hosting a program orientation Aug. 21, and is welcoming new students. From August to May, youngsters and parents will have the chance to gain a better understanding of the educational system, college, and money. Students will have access to mentoring, tutoring, college tours, professional development, internship connections, scholarships, and more. The program is $75 for the year. Each additional child is $30. For more information, visit risingstarcp.org.