On Friday, Jan. 17, Palm Desert Charter Middle School held its first annual college fair. The event was hosted throughout the school day by the PDCMS AVID 7th and 8th grade AVID students in the multipurpose room. In preparation for the college fair, students researched colleges they were interested in attending, created presentation boards, and practiced their speech-making skills.
The desire to have a student-led college fair was generated by our AVID students. In the fall of 2019, our AVID class asked teachers to assist them in holding this event for the school. AVID club president, Manuel Hernandez, led the charge stating that AVID students have the privilege of visiting college campuses across southern California. This year alone students visited CSUSB Palm Desert, College of the Desert, USC and Cal Poly Pomona. In years past, college field trips have included visits to UCLA, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine. In addition, our 8th grade AVID students attend the college fair for the Coachella Valley held at Agua Caliente every year. Due to funding for field trip buses, it is difficult to take more students outside of the AVID classes on these college trips. Therefore, the AVID students wanted to bring back the information they learned at different campuses regarding housing, academics, and admissions back to their classmates. It is our student’s desire to spread college knowledge across our campus.
The Palm Desert Charter Middle School College Fair represented 40 different colleges and universities, such as the Naval Academy, Cal Tech, USC, UCLA and Notre Dame. Students spent weeks working on their presentations and our AVID elective teachers, Mrs. Breidenbach, Ms. Lopez, and Mrs. Hamann worked tirelessly providing feedback and support. The end result was a fair with presentations filled with props like basketballs, banners, school sweatshirts and prepared multi-media presentations to display alongside their boards.
Palm Desert Charter Middle School students visited the fair during their elective class. 5th grade students from Lincoln elementary school also attended the college fair with their teachers. All students were greeted at the door by AVID elective teachers who gave them a college fair scavenger hunt. Students enjoyed the fair while also finding the answers to informational questions, such as: What is the mascot of Cal Tech? Name a famous Harvard alumnus, and What are Notre Dame’s school colors? Once students returned to their elective classes, they were asked to reflect on the experience in their scavenger hunt pamphlet. One student wrote that seeing all the college options made college seem like a more possible goal for them.
All day long, students were excited about visiting the fair and asked their friends if they had been to their elective class yet. The positive student response demonstrated the event to be a great success.
Desert Sands has and is creating a college- and career-minded culture on our campuses and AVID students are leading the way to promote college fairs and college kickoff celebrations in the desert. Our commitment to continue to open college doors and keep them open, is always at the forefront. The future is here. The Palm Desert Charter Middle School AVID students and teachers look forward to making this an annual event to be hosted every January.
- Cassidy Nissen: DSUSD
- Marcelina Mejia: DSUSD
- Orlando Rojas Revellli: DSUSD