UCSC to host first annual Middle School Summit focusing on solving community challenges

Campus to bring up to 350 Santa Cruz County 7th-graders to University on May 21

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UC Santa Cruz will pilot the first annual Middle School Summit on Tuesday, May 21, as part of the Santa Cruz County College Commitment--bringing up to 350 local students to the university campus from Branciforte, EA Hall, New Brighton, San Lorenzo Valley, Shoreline and Rolling Hills schools.

“The purpose of the summit is to provide an exciting pre-summit career and college-going curriculum for 7th-grade students in Santa Cruz, and have students conduct research on solving challenges in the community and the broader world,” said Michelle Whittingham, associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Management and interim director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at UCSC.

“Mayor Hillary Bryant will be a part of the opening session covering how students can be a part of developing solutions,” Whittingham added.

Each student will participate in one of 10 workshops on such topics as homelessness, hunger, environmental sustainability, astronomy, social justice and immigration, cancer, game design, engineering solutions, healing through the arts, and crime prevention.

"I was so excited when I visited New Brighton Middle School back in December and spoke with their students, and simply asked: ‘if you could help solve some of our community’s challenges, what would they be?’” said Whittingham. “Nearly all of the ideas for the sessions came directly from those students.”

Whittingham noted that the students will be able to discover connections between the school work they are doing now, and future possibilities for making an impact in their community and the world.

"We could not have planned such an incredible program without the assistance of so many staff, faculty, students and people from the schools, Cabrillo College, the community and our campus," said Whittingham.

The Santa Cruz County College Commitment (S4C) is a countywide collaboration, comprised of public education institutions, including all K-12 school districts, Cabrillo College, CSU Monterey Bay and UC Santa Cruz.
 
The goal of S4C is to improve career and college readiness for students in Santa Cruz County to ensure that every student succeeds

Students will have the opportunity to experience college campuses, beginning with a 4th grade visit to Cabrillo College, where they will interact with teachers in mini-workshops and other educational activities.

For more information about the May 21 event at UC Santa Cruz, contact Michelle Whittingham at (831) 459-4358.