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Washington World Fellows Debrief Day

Saturday, the inaugural class of Washington World Fellows reunited for the first time in two months at the Seahawks headquarters to debrief their six-week study abroad adventure in Leon, Spain. The students, who earned 10 college credits from Central Washington University during the program this past summer, spent the day reconnecting with one another, sharing their feedback about the program, and entering into the next phase of the fellowship: college preparation.

The day began with an opening debrief session led by the Lt. Governor’s staff. Carlos Barajas-Zamora, a junior from Snohomish High School, shared his thoughts about the study abroad experience: “It was so nice to experience the culture, see the sights, talk with the people, and eat the food of Spain.

During the midday debrief session, the fellows had the opportunity to share their feedback directly with the Lt. Governor about how the study abroad program had impacted them and the ways in which it had changed their perspectives.

“I feel like this trip has allowed for me to know myself better,” Michelle Jimenez told him, a student from Squalicum High School in Bellingham. “I got to see myself outside of all the distractions of home, and it made me realize how far I can continue to push myself.”

Thanks to the Seahawks Vice President of Community Outreach, Mike Flood, the fellows were able to go on an exclusive tour of the Seahawks training facility as well as get a sneak peek of the Seahawks’ pre-game Saturday practice on the Virginia Mason Athletic Center field. They were surprised when, after practice, Russell Wilson personally greeted them and posed for a photo.

The Seahawks were an early supporter of the Washington World Fellows program. In 2018, they championed legislation that dedicates a percentage of specialty Seahawks license plates revenues to the fellowship. They have continued to support the program in other ways, including providing space for events like Saturday’s reunion.

The remainder of the day, the students engaged in the fellowship’s college readiness programming. The Washington World Fellows program has partnered with The Learning Professionals tutoring program, which provides one-on-one tutoring and group training for SAT and ACT testing. The fellows took partial ACT and SAT exams, proctored by founder and co-owner of The Learning Professionals Arthur Emory, to identify their testing strengths and weaknesses for each test. The fellows will have weekly Skype group tutoring sessions with Arthur and his team from now until they take either the SAT or ACT. In addition to preparing students for the SAT and ACT, the Washington World Fellows program will help students become college-ready by assisting with college and financial aid applications, providing academic support, and by giving students access to unique leadership opportunities like the Washington State Senate Page program.

As the Washington World Fellows program continues in the upcoming year, the 2018 Washington World Fellows cohort will serve as peer-mentors to the next incoming class. The students expressed enormous enthusiasm about this idea, with some having volunteered to play a role in helping onboard the next group of students before even being asked.

“I am just as excited to be a part of this program now as I was at the beginning, and I can’t wait to meet and help the other fellows from the new cohorts,” said Teja Chunphakvenn-Pinkney, a student from Sky View High School in Vancouver. “This [program] has already made a positive impact on me, and I can’t wait to see the positive impact it will make on someone else.”

 

Libby Hollingshead