July 19 2002


Twenty incoming 8th grade students from Gompers Secondary School in San Diego Unified School District recently completed a special summer program funded by the Verizon Foundation which exposed them to Internet training, web page design, and aspects of college life at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Hanaidy Valderra of Gompers Secondary School takes a short break during Internet training at UCSD this summer.

Called the Verizon Summer Residential Camp, the program was sponsored by the Gompers GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) initiative, a federally funded college preparatory effort involving UCSD and the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP). In 2000, the Verizon Foundation awarded UCSD and Cal-SOAP a two-year grant of $30,000 for GEAR UP-related computer technology outreach.

The three-week residential camp consisted of students spending two weeks at Gompers where they received basic training on the Internet and web page design, followed by one week of living on the UCSD campus where they completed further work on web page design using computers in the Outreach Communications Center of the Division of Student Educational Advancement.

“Increasing student access and exposure to computer technology and college life are primary goals of the Verizon Summer Residential Camp,” says Elias Escamilla, Gompers GEAR UP director, who coordinated the Verizon initiative. “Such exposure enhances students’ academic success and admission to institutions of higher learning.”

While at UCSD, the students also took part in campus tours, college financial aid counseling, and extracurricular activities including field trips to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Theatre and Space Center, and the Aerospace Museum. The program culminated last week with a special ceremony in which students presented their custom-made web pages to parents.

Students selected for the residential camp had to have an accumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above, and complete an essay on why they wished to participate.

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