The project director of the Step/I Have A Dream program, Chip Jardeleeza, had the following comments to add to those of the students:
“The trip to San Diego was an invaluable experience for the students in our program. Although the effects of such an experience may be difficult to measure at this time, high achievement can not be ignored and one must acknowledge the possible correlations that may exist.
Three students who attended the trip to San Diego are showing great promise for this school year. Joshua Skrine, David Dorsey and Ronnisha Dorsey have hit the ground running this year with very impressive progress reports from their schools. Josh, who struggled for much of last year due to a lack of focus and commitment, has started his tenth grade year at Hyde Public Charter with a renewed sense of academic responsibility. He is maintaining all A's and B's in his classes while playing on the varsity football team.
From a volunteer’s point of view, the trip to San Diego offered countless opportunities for students to consider the ideas of success and responsibility in life and in school. Our students traveled clear across the country, many flying for the first time. For a week they lived the college life complete with classes, labs, recreational activities and social events. They went to places where they had never been before, did things that they had never done before and saw things that they had never seen before. It is hard to imagine that such a rich experience would not affect a student in one positive way or another. What a great trip!”
Donald Sam, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribal volunteer and environmental scientist, reflects on the impact the program had on the students, “I have been telling people about the great things that happened; there is so much potential in this program for the students. The kids had an experience that may very well shape their young lives. Peter has an amazing dream, I see myself fortunate for having the opportunity to play a part. We all have the opportunity to focus on the positive.”
Ms. Nora Bird, Crow; education director for the Apsalooka Nation Education Department; and group leader for the students from the Crow Nation informed us that the young people from her group have not been able to stop talking about how extraordinary their experience has been. Ms. Begay stressed that “The trip promoted pro-social norms and behaviors through an atmosphere of diversity. An eclectic group of peers and volunteers from different racial, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds interacted and were monitored with a preset code of conduct agreed upon by all participants. In addition, exposure to life beyond their neighborhood revealed unknown opportunities available to them and inherent skills they did not know they possessed, which will allow them to become contributing members of American society and their reservation communities.”
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