Saturday, July 31, 2010

By Sergio & Abraham

I love running
I hate running
I run long distances
I can't run far at all
I don't sweat at all
I get so sweaty
Running is so much fun
Funning is very boring
After a 2 mile run, I still breath easily
I lose my breath so quickly
I can't think of anything better than running
I'd rather be laying on the couch eating cheetos

By Marisol & Caren

I can run faster than a snail
I can run as slow as a turtle
I can swim like a fish
I can't even swim
I am good at soccer
I can't even kick a ball

By Manny & Alexis

All four years
only three to go
They're going to be awesome
They're going to be cool
Meeting new people
Having new friends
Decorating our dorms
Doing cool activities
All in two exciting weeks
It all started slow but then it goes quick!

More By Manny & Alexis

My favorite color is red
My favorite color is black
Red is wonderful
Black is better than bright colors
Being bright is being alive
Black is dark and keeps me mellow
Red is awesome and cool
Black is just great
Red has different meanings
Black reminds me of only one thing
Red is love
Black is dark
I love bright colors
I hate bright colors

By Kenia & Diana

They make weird noises
They make cool noises
They are really slow and heavy
They are good for doing homework
It's the worst job finder
It could help you get a job
I can just look for a job myself
It has cool games
The games are for little kids!

By Tykesha & Jazmine

Cheerleading is fun
Cheerleading is hard
I am full of spirit
I'd rather dance in my yard
Flipping around and shouting out chants
Cheerleading is something I can't do, just can't
Supporting our team and cheering them on
Sitting there in the bleachers listening to "We're Number One"
The game is over and we have won
Congratulations team, good job, Well done!

By Jonathan & Jesus

I love to play sports
I love to do art
Making the finishing tackle is the best ever
Finishing a work of art
is like injecting life into my heart
Shooting the game point gives me
a pleasure, I will tell you
I can do art with almost anything
Any kind of sport is my passion
Any kind of art is my passion
I can do anything with a ball
I can do anything with a pencil, paintbrush or pastels

By Mari & Juanita

they're such a pain!
Whenever I see one
My friends reply "you're so lame."
They make me laugh
They make me cry,
everytime I look into a
heartbreaker's eyes...
I don't know what to do
I am so confused

Introducing...All the kids

Below you will find the entries from each of our participants. I hope you enjoy getting to know the kids in their own words!

Ms. Donohue

Friday, July 30, 2010

by Manny from Milwaukee

What's Up People?

This is my second blog post here. Today I am going to write about my favorite class here which is math class. My two math teachers are Dr. Joe Tadie (SMU) and Ms. Sharenda Hill (Catalyst Circle Rock). We are currently on the surface area and perimeters of different types of shapes and prisms. We are also measuring the whole classroom. I think it is a lot of fun because we have to be as precise as we can be. We must measure down to every 16th of an inch. I think that this group project, I am in the group called The Bluffs, is really fun because it teaches us that accuracy is important in math. My other classes are fun some times, too.

Alexis from Chicago

Being in Countdown to College has been a fun experience for me. The best thing I like about it is when we went ghost hunting in The Bluffs (mountians). Many of us were very scared, but we found out it was only a joke when we didn't know who or what was hiding under the bridge trying to scare us because it wasn't planned. I really enjoyed myself -- can't believe I wasn't tired going up and down that hill -- running up and down when people scared us. Being in Countdown to College is a major thing to me because you socialize with friends and new people. Countdown to College is not only all about fun, education is the main priority. So I love it and the people who are a part of it because they are awesome, helping, caring and willing to be there when you need someone to talk to.

P.S. I love being here and can't wait for next year. I'm going to meet new people and decorate my dorm.

By:Tykeisha from Chicago, Illinois

My name is Tykeisha and I am a student who attends the Countdown to College(C2C) program. So far C2C has been a wonderful experience. I have been enjoying myself since the first day I arrived. In addition to the academic classes, we participate in many activities. We've gone hiking and played lots of fun games. Many of the activites and games are fun and eduacational so we can learn while we have fun. We played games such as Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, Jeopordy, Human Battleship, Pictionary, and more. Every night we have a discussion about something different that can help us in the future. We had disccusions on what high school life will be like, on public speaking, organization, and lastly vocabulary. I am very excited to be here and I am definitely looking forward to next year so I can meet new people and decorate my dorm room.



by: Somayah from: Racine

I enjoy being at St. Mary University for the Countdown to College program because I'm having fun as well as learning. I've learned to meet new people because I have a hard time doing so. I've also faced my fears by getting VERY close to a rattle snake and usually the richest people in the world couldn't pay me to touch one. I think this is a great program and I would advise that if any child wants to do something with their life and can't afford their way through college then they should start this program. You will discover a lot of new things and do such things as swimming, ghost hunting, watch movies, play games, and go to church. If you try this program I promise you won't regret it.

By Ozzie from Chicago, Illinois

Here at Countdown to College I have fun with a lot of girls, but when I try to get the numbers to their phone from their room the teachers wont let me! I try all my hoaxes but they never work... but I have fun.... I still got some girls' numbers during our activity time. Thats how I've spent most of my time having fun. But that is not the only way I have fun; I also play basketball, go to the game room to play some pool or even ping pong. I never knew that I could have this much fun at a camp that you have to take four academic classes. Our academic classes are math, writing, vocabulary, and reading. My favorite is math because it is fun...but i guess it is because of the teacher...A shout out to Dr.Tadie.

By Jazmine from Milwaukee

Hey Hey :)!! My name is Jazmine and I am currently attending The S.M.U's Countdown to College. Currently we are having classes that include math, writing,vocabulary, and reading. These classes are really fun but at the same time engaging. These classes are fun, but the real fun comes after classes end. We usually have some activities that range from "ice-breakers" to juggling. But the thing I love the most is spending time with my new friends that come from all parts of the U.S.A. like Tucson, Chicago, and Racine. I love coming here and I hope to attend S.M.U in the future!

By Abraham from Milwaukee

Whether it's scaring friends during the ghost hunt or going to the Marine Art Museum, we have all been having a great time. I know that they said that this program's main purpose is to educate and give us the knowledge to succeed but being entertained here is not a problem. Classes were nowhere near as boring as I thought they would be and Math is my favorite class at the moment. Math is especially fun when we get to hear Dr. Joe's philosophical words. Every day he reminds us to be neat although neatness is a word never used in my vocabulary.

By Sergio from Minneapolis

I liked going out and hiking through the bluffs at night and going ghost hunting. Today we are going to watch a movie. We just went to the lake on Wednesday and play dodge ball against each other and we won!

By Marisol from Racine

The other day we went ghost hunting and it was so much fun. But I was a little scared at first because I could hear and see things moving. It was around 8 or 9 so it was really scary. Turns out it was the teachers hiding in the woods, trying to scare us. Also we played hide and seek inside St. Mary's and it was also dark because we had all the lights off. But that has been the best day for me so far.

by: Arshad Williams from Chicago

This trip has been an unbelievable expierence. We have done so many fun things such as playing Human Battleship and going swimming in a gigantic pool. Although our bed time is at 10:30 ughhhhh.....I am still having fun talking to teachers and friends. Until next time this is Arshad Williams signing out.

By: Juanita From: Minneapolis

Hi! I'm juanita. The C2C program is so much fun and it is so helpful. The games like Human Battleship and Family Feud are really fun. Also the class are nice because you learn in fun ways. The classes are challenging and I "LOVE" to be challenged. I'm having a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the next 4 years.

by Jesus from Chicago

My time here at St. Mary's University is going great because we do a lot of fun activities. I liked when we went ghost hunting. A lot of girls got scared because the staff members were trying to scare us. I like that we have just a little bit of homework. I'm really enjoying myself and I can't wait for next week to see what we will do.

By Diana from Chicago

Countdown 2 College is really fun. I got to meet lots of new people from different schools, some even from different states. we get to be the first to experience this activity. We are like a happy family. Also we make each other laugh. We go to the pool, and yes you do have to go to school, but its all worth it because I might be really successful in the future.

By Mari from Tucson :)

It was a Wednesday after school and my mom told me we had to rush down to the high school, San Miguel, for a last-minute meeting between my mom, Mr.Moreno, Ms.Renteria and I. When I walked in I was told that there was a very important matter they had to discuss with me. I was then informed that five other students and I had been nominated to participate in an academic bootcamp in Winona, Minnesota at St. Mary's University. It would take place during our last two weeks of summer vacation. I made up my mind right there. It was an amazing opportunity and I could not say no. I applied and thank God I was accepted. I was told that I would be coming with this kid from Naco, Arizona. I was nervous of course, but more than anything excited. I met Javi once or twice before the trip then on June 23 we boarded our airplane at Tucson International Airport at 6 a.m.

I have now been here for a week and it's honestly been one of the best times of my life. Edith (program coordinator) was here and has been here with constant open arms along with the other home and university teachers here with us. I've made some really great friends and truthfully every single one of these students I'm with make me smile on a daily basis. We have all gotten really close and we've already made memories that will be in my heart forever. Our teachers are AMAZING !!!! Classes are actually really interesting. Well, time to do homework, write more later(:

HATE by Jonathan from Chicago



by Chekiya from Chicago

Hi I'm Chekiya. Countdown to College is a really good program for 8th graders transitioning to high school. Your child will be very lucky to come here. We get to sleep in dorm rooms like normal college students (that's so cool). The academics here are awesome! We learn things like measuring a whole room, writing an essay, learning tons of new words, and reading parts of huge novels and successful poems. Learning all of this really advances us and prepare us for high school. We have so many different activities here it will never be a boring day. We will be able too come every 2 weeks out of the summer until we graduate high school. I will have a ton of friends. I can hardly believe we have to leave next week. This has been one of the best experience of my life and I'm glad I can come back. You should really consider letting your child attended this program and it will advance him/her greatly academically and socially.

Thank You!

by Nathalie from MILWAUKEE!!

I really love this camp because it is so awesome. We get involved in tons of activities right after we finsh our school hours here at campus. The other day, we went to the lake and all of us were playing a water game. Right after, the guys grabbed the buckets full of water and dumped it on me. Oh, you should have seen how soaked I was! It didn't end there; we went for a scoop of ice cream right down the park. The classes that we take here are Vocabulary, Math, Reading and Writing. I think that all of these classes are the most important ones that will be carried on in High School and are the ones that teachers are looking for us to excel in. The greatest thing about this program is that it's for four years and you come back every summer!

By: Javier Madrid (aka javi) Tucson, Arizona

Hi, it's Javi!

I'm having a lot of fun here in Winona, Minnesota. It's been a great experience. I'm thirteen and from Tucson, Arizona. I'll be attending San Miguel High School in Tucson. It's been hard for me to move from Naco - leaving my friends, family, and my city. It was extremely hard not playing baseball for a summer, but I'll get through it. My dream after high school is to attend a major university then attend law school. I just want to tell everybody reading this that they have the chance to succeed as much as anyone else does! The possibilities in life are endless. I would like to say hello to my family and tell them I miss them and I'll be back soon.

P.S. I would like to thank San Miguel High, the home teachers, St. Mary University's professors, and Ms. Edith Galvez for giving us this great opportunity!

by Adriana from Racine, Wisconsin

Coming to Saint Mary's has been a wonderful opportunity that only comes once in a life time! I'm going to live the time here to the fullest, because we only have one life to live, and this is it. This opportunity is giving me and everyone that's here time to work with college professors, learn more, and have a great time.

by Cuauhtemoc from Milwaukee

What' Up?
It's me Temo and I'm having so much fun here at Countdown to College. I'm really starting to get used to the whole college experience which is really fun except for all of the school work. I really enjoy the variety of activities they provide for us here at Countdown to College like basketball, swimming, and especially dodge ball. Another thing that is really fantastic is hiking in the bluffs which are basically huge hills covered with trees and other green stuff. See you all in a week.


By:Samantha From Chicago

This camp is so much fun! I can't wait to go see my family so I can tell them all about it! The activities are so much fun too!

Writing homework for C2C

Hello, C2C campers!

By the time you read this, I hope you have all awaken. This morning in class there was some pretty serious snoozing going on! (Not really, but you all did look pretty tired.) Actually, I hope you wake up just long enough to do a blog entry--a poem, a journal entry, a snippit of your "Hairs" or "Birth Order" writing pieces. (Anyone wondering what "snippet" means? Ask me tomorrow in class.)

See you manana! Sleep well tonight!

Dr. Jane

Thursday, July 29, 2010

By Manny from Milwaukee

Hey everybody,
I wish you could all be here. We are all having so much fun. We have so many fun activities like swimming, ghost hunting, and interactive games. We also have 4 classes. We get a great summer education. For classes we have Math, Vocabulary, Reading, and Writing. Our day here starts at 8:00 with breakfast and it ends at 10:30 pm, with half an hour of freetime. We have the opportunity to sleep in dorms like regular college students. If you were here you would have so much fun.

Picnic Slide Show

Click on the photo to link to the Picasa Web Album of our picnic at the lake. A soaking-wet-dogde-ball fight turned into an all out water fight. It was a blast!

By Caren from Milwaukee

I am having a wonderful time. At first I thought it was going to be boring since I didn't know other people, but I started to talk to them and now I get along with them and we have great times with each other. I also like the classes because they make us think "outside the box" and that really helps me, and it will also benefit me for the future.

I love what we do for activites. We do a lot of team building and ice-breakers, and that's one of the ways that I got to know other people. I also like the field trips that we go to. They are entertaining and educational. The last field trip we went to was the Marine Art Museum, and I liked it because there was a lot of paintings and also drawings from stories, and that really interested me since I am a person who loves to draw.

I love it here and after the two weeks are done I am not going to want to go home.

We'd love to hear from YOU!!!

Yes, you! The one reading this blog right now! Drop us a comment and let us know what you think. We've had a couple of messages from friends and teachers, and we would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Brilliant Minds!

From Minneapolis, MN:
Jesus, Juanita, and Sergio.

From Milwaukee, WI:
Caren, Jazmine, Manny, Abraham, Nathalie, and Temo

From Racine, WI:
Marisol, Somayah and Adriana

From Tuscon, AZ:
Mari and Javi

From Chicago, IL:
Tykeisha, Alexis, Chekiya, and Jonathan
Samantha, NiaPearl, and Arshad
Jesus, Diana, and Kenia

By Kenia from San Miguel Chicago

Hi this is Kenia. Well I have had a very awesome time here at Countdown to College. I am so glad I came here. It is so much fun. But one cool thing here, too, is that we have homework and activities that are the best part. It is cool. I love it so far

Study Hour

It is very quiet in St. Joseph's Hall. 25 students are completing their homework for today. There is a faint hum of brilliant minds at work!

Right after class today, we went to Garvin Heights to see the view and then down to the lakes for some games and a dodge-ball-water-fight. We were joined by several SMU students and the Tadie Family. (Always be on August's team--that kid is FAST!) There was lots of laughing and joking. After our picnic dinner, we walked over to Lakeview for ice cream. Now, I am from Chicago, and I don't know of any place that does a soft-serve cone like Lakeview. It was DELICIOUS! It was also Karokee and Cars Under the Stars Night. We *almost* got Ms. Greer to channel Whitney Houston, but we had to come back for study hall! The camp won't end until Ms. Greer sings "I Will Always Love You"!

Our study hall will last for an hour and then Ms. Marisol Salazar is leading a discussion on the importance of vocabulary. Then it will be close to 10:30 so just enough time to clean up and get some sleep. (Please pray for sleepy kids! HA!)

Thanks for reading!

Ms. Donohue

Day #5 of C2C

We have settled into our routine for Countdown 2 College. Our 25 students have spent a few nights away from home, stayed up way too late, got up way too early, learned to swirl a soft-serve cone at the Cafe, played in the game room, TOUCHED A RATTLESNAKE!(well, some of us!), and even enjoyed our classes! We recognize what a unique and exciting experience this is for the students. They are determined to be successful in high school and college and they know this is a great path for them to be on.

We are getting to know one another better and making new friends. A strong spirit of community is developing among us, even though we are from different schools and different towns, including Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Racine, WI; and Tuscon, AZ.

The basic routine for students is as follows:

8:00 am Breakfast in the Cafe
9:00 am Classes (Reading and Writing)
11:30 am Lunch and Break
1:15 pm Classes (Math and Vocabulary)
3:30 pm Activity (We've climbed the Bluffs and heard a storyteller, so far!)
5:30 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Study Hall (Mandatory for all students; homework in every class!)
8:00 pm Discussion & Games (Home Teachers lead discussions on a variety of topics)
10:30 pm LIGHTS OUT (Mostly!)

The days are PACKED and the kids are tired, but guess what? They want to stay up all night talking to one another. They are building community, right?

We have 5 home teachers who have joined the program:
Ms. Kathy Donohue from San Miguel Chicago, Comer Campus
Mr. Alex Downs-Borowski from San Miguel Chicago, Back of the Yards
Mrs. Rhonda Greer from Catalyst School Chicago, Howland Campus
Ms. Sharenda Hill from Catalyst School Chicago, Circle Rock Campus
Ms. Marisol Salazar from John XXII Center, Racine, WI

The home teachers are co-teaching with SMU staff members, including Dr. Jane Anderson, Dr. Joe Tadie, Dr. John Kerr, and Mr. Corey Hanson. Home teachers also monitor the halls in the dorm, offer hugs to homesick students, laugh with all the students, and are available for discipline if necessary (but we haven't been called on for too much of that!)

That's all for now! We are off to a Gavin Heights and Lake for some fun and a picnic dinner. Thanks for your interest in C2C. This is a wonderful experience!

Ms. Kathy Donohue

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ninth-graders prepare early to succeed in college

First-generation students from underserved communities
immersed in college life during new Saint Mary’s program

WINONA, Minn. — Twenty-five 9th-graders from Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tucson, Ariz., will get a head start on college success this summer, thanks to a first-of-its-kind program offered by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

From July 24 to Aug. 7, the university’s Countdown to College academic camp will provide these students (and teachers from their home schools) with activities that will help them prepare for successful college experiences. Countdown to College will boost students’ skills, confidence and knowledge of how to negotiate the social and academic world of college.

Countdown to College offers free classes, recreation, field trips, and room and board. Saint Mary’s plans to welcome back the same students for four consecutive summers. Each year a new group of 9th graders will be selected to participate in the Countdown to College experience, resulting in a total camp population of 100 9th- through 12th-graders by the fourth summer.

“To our knowledge, this is the first program in the nation that offers four consecutive years of early immersion in the college experience,” said Dr. Jane Anderson, dean of the School of Education for Saint Mary’s University, who helped develop the program.

Why the program is needed

Currently, about one of every two economically disadvantaged youth of color in the U.S. does not graduate from high school. Only a small percentage of Latinos and African Americans have college degrees. This is the reality even as demand is rising for better-educated workers who can function in today’s technologically complex global economy.

“Countdown to College is designed to ensure college success for first-generation students whose parents did not have the opportunity to go to college,” said Dr. Anderson. “First-generation students, many of them students of color from underserved schools and communities, are at an economic and educational disadvantage when it comes to reaching and finishing college. These are all factors that are known to significantly limit their ability to attend and succeed in college.”

Countdown to College highlights

Countdown to College seeks to break down the barriers to higher education by exposing youth directly to the college experience for two weeks each summer for four straight years. The first summer, each day will be filled with college orientation and classes in reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, math and leadership. Their schedules will also include supervised study halls, academic contests, sports, recreation, and field trips. Other college preparation subjects, such as science, will be added in subsequent years.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the program is that it includes a teacher or staff representative from each of the participating students’ schools. They will co-teach the classes alongside Saint Mary’s instructors. This will help prepare the university instructors to work with an increasingly diverse population of college students. In turn, the visiting teachers learn how to set their students up for success in college and how to help create a community of support around the students.

The participants in Countdown to College attend schools in the Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Tucson metropolitan areas. Preference is given to graduates of Saint Mary’s middle school partners in the NativityMiguel Network of Jesuit and Christian Brothers’ schools, which are located in those cities.

Countdown to College is funded for 2010-2013 by a generous donation from Jack and Mary Ann Remick of Rochester, Minn., who are long-time supporters of Saint Mary’s University. Mary Ann Remick is also the chairwoman of Saint Mary’s First-Generation Advisory Board.

Part of the broader ‘First-Generation Initiative’

Countdown to College is the foundation segment of Saint Mary’s broader First-Generation Initiative to improve college access and success.

“Countdown to College and our First-Generation Initiative reflect Saint Mary’s mission to make higher education accessible to learners, regardless of their financial situations,” said Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s University.

Countdown to College graduates will receive preferential consideration to participate in Saint Mary’s First-Generation Initiative program, which provides college scholarships, and educational support to first-generation students who demonstrate financial need as well as leadership and academic potential. Beginning this fall, up to 15 students are eligible to receive full four-year scholarships. These scholarships will provide full financial support for tuition, room and board, books, computer, spending money, and one semester of study abroad.

“Students participating in Countdown to College may potentially become part of Saint Mary’s First-Generation Initiative scholarship program, which would be a seamless continuation of support for these students,” said Brother Edmund Siderewicz, assistant to the president for First-Generation and Lasallian Initiatives. “We want to provide full scholarships and opportunities for our First-Generation students – study abroad, internships, life to the fullest – because we know these students have the potential to accomplish great things.”