On Saturday March 11th, I had the opportunity to participate in this years Youth Symposium, hosted by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., held at Kaiser
High School. It was a day of educational workshops for students and parents. When my family and I arrived at Kaiser High School we were introduced to the members of the Alumni Board of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. I had the pleasure of meeting an original member of the Alumni Association of the sorority, Gitta Williams. In her words, “This is our opportunity to reach out to the community and provide various classes, entertainment, and guest speakers so we can get the students more involved and learn more about various life skills.”
The event began with introductions from Shannon O’Brien, the coordinator of the event, and Superintendent Randal S. Bassett from the Fontana Unified School District. The pledge of allegiance was done by one of our own Girl Scouts from Troop 150. During these introductions, we became acquainted with the Erik Cork, the event’s keynote speaker, Mr. Cork is an internationally known public speaker and very popular for his writing workshops. While he was speaking, I witnessed the audience become excited and passionate about writing and learning. Cork used a technique that I have never seen in a public speaker do before, he used rap to connect to the students and lead them to acknowledge that writing becomes fun when you understand it from a musical point. During an interview with Cork, he summarizes what he achieved during this presentation, “I was showing the students that if they know all the words to these songs and dances, then they can learn all the objectives when it comes to literacy and language arts… I use music and rap as a technique to teach children.” Cork hopes that after his presentation, student will “have higher expectations of themselves.”
After event introductions we were split into four groups. Our group headed over to the Read and Grow Rich Builder’s Club Workshop. Different groups went to other workshops such as the STEM Mobile Innovation Center, the Youth Entrepreneurship workshop, and they even provided a workshop for our parents – Simple Keys to building Wealth. At my workshop, we discussed the opportunities in the engineering field and built original creations with legos, magnetic shapes, and LED buildables.
After the first rotation, we found ourselves in a workshop about managing our finances. Imagine a room full of teens finding out that we were going to learn about managing money, something that we thought we wouldn’t have to think about until we graduated high school. But, Mr. Harold Phillips, our presenter, surprised us. Instead of talking about stocks and 401K forms, we talked about our needs and wants. It was easy for us to understand that we need toothpaste and want new clothes. We also discussed that in order to manage our spending, we have to set financial goals. Mr. Phillips was able to make the topic of finances interesting and interactive.
Following the second rotation we were treated to lunch, and just like Ms. Williams said, entertainment. Surrounding the eating area were booths that had information about other events or programs that we would be interested in. There was a Girl Scout booth, Big Brother Big Sisters program, and the Fontana Aquatic Center was there as well, they gave information about their summer lifeguard programs. Centennial High School’s Dance Team also performed. The team got the audience pumped and the energy going! We also got a glimpse of the behind the scene responsibilities for volunteers. I spoke to one of the volunteers, Monica Rolon, a high school student from Kaiser High School. “I am apart of the JROTC program… we motivate young students to become better citizens and we teach discipline and leadership.” Monica and the rest of the JROTC program helped with the setup and cleanup of the event, as well as the distribution of food.
For our final workshop, we headed over to the STEM mobile laboratory, where we participated in four separate types of labs. In the first one, we witnessed an endothermic reaction by filling a glove with baking soda and vinegar and watching the glove expand. After, we discussed the balance of flammable and nonflammable substances, we used a blowtorch to light a towel that had been soaked in water and in alcohol. Following this, we went inside to examine samples underneath a microscope. In our last lab we used dry ice as an example of the states of matter.
After completing this lab, we went down to the field where we received our certificates to show participation in this years Youth Symposium. I truly believe that this event has left a positive impact on me and the other participants.We learned essential life skills and money management tips. Sigma Gamma Rho puts on this Symposium every year, so mark your calendars!