VARIED SUMMER EXPERIENCES CHALLENGE LHS STUDENTS
By Angelina Folchi
A few LHS students were fortunate enough to have some phenomenal experiences this past summer. One traveled across the world to India, a couple went to the UC Davis college campus, while many others stayed local for the Plumas-Sierra County Fair.
Only a week after school got out, Bethany McHenry headed off to UC Davis for a six-week program. Forty students were given this chance to work with university professors in research labs.
The application process for this course was very lengthy. There was a series of short essays to write and one long essay. Applicants needed a few letters of recommendation, and they were required to type up a resume.
Bethany’s project throughout the six weeks was trying to clone DNA. This would help produce organisms that are more effective in decomposing man-made pollutants. To get this done, she was working with undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctorates, visiting professors from other countries, and a UCD professor.
McHenry said this event was like a mini-college experience, where she learned how important note-taking is while conducting a lab and how to study and prepare for college. Making new friends is now a lot less difficult for Bethany. She became friends with quite a few new people, and they still keep in touch through texting and Facebook. Some of the best parts of the whole month and a half were the weekends. They went on field trips all around California. They were so relaxing compared to the hard work that was done every weekday, and the participants got to bond on these trips.
Kayla Gressel left the United States in June for Delhi, India. The U.S. State Department sponsored this project, called the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). The purpose of it is to send students on full scholarship from the U.S. to foreign countries to learn some of the less commonly taught languages. Gressel was sent to India along with nine others to learn how to speak, write and read Hindi this summer. She recalled, “It was definitely harder than Spanish, but it’s a really cool language.”
A typical day for Gressel was to wake up at 6:30 and go to school from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then she would come home, eat lunch, take a nap, do school work, and play cards. They would eat dinner really late, around 9, and then she went to bed.
The host family she stayed with wasn’t traditional Hindus; they were Christians. It was different than it would’ve been with a Hindu family, but she still really enjoyed it. There were two girls in the family, one Gressel’s age and one four years younger. Gressel bonded with the younger girl, Sonia. They spent a lot of time making friendship bracelets, painting together, and playing card games. Gressel taught her all the American card games. They would also watch lots of Bollywood movies and India soap operas, Sonia translating. Gressel’s favorite things about India were the great food and sights, like the Taj Majal.
Kirsten Goldsmith attended the Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) leadership conference, also at UC Davis, from July 19 to 22. HOBY is a three-day seminar that focuses on helping juniors from Northern California develop leadership skills. Many guest speakers came to talk about their experiences in establishing their own businesses and there were fun activities to do all the time. The organizers of HOBY focused on motivating the juniors to help their schools and communities.
When asked about the event overall, Kirsten stated, “Awesome. Tons of fun. By the first lunch, you were already having 12 different conversations with complete strangers.”
Goldsmith said she feels she has a more outreaching personality, an easier time talking to strangers, and good ideas to help our school. She’s planning on talking to the LHS faculty soon about getting those plans started.
According to Goldsmith, the best part of the conference was raising money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Alex was an eight-year-old girl who died from cancer a few years ago. She loved having lemonade stands to raise money for childhood cancer research, and after she passed away, the fundraiser continued. The participants split into groups and ran all around the college campus, raising money. After it was all over, they had accumulated a total of about $12,000.
If HOBY were offered to incoming seniors, Goldsmith said, “I would definitely do it again. It was a great time and a good experience.”
The Plumas-Sierra County Fair was a huge success for LHS students. Kallie Goss, sophomore, won first place in Senior Showmanship, Grand Champion Steer, and Senior Round Robin Winner. With his lamb, Alex Folchi also won Senior Showmanship and Grand Champion Sheep. Anne Renteria received Reserve Grand Champion Swine, and senior Quinn Hilberg won his FFA Showmanship class with his pig.
Many students did great with their horses. Kelsey Scheckla won high point in the gymkana event (barrels, poles, keyhole, and flag race), both in the 4-H division and ages 13-17. Junior Rachel Huebert received high point in the open performance class; freshman Robin Griffin walked off with Reserve Grand Champion Mare in judging. Bethany McHenry won high point in her novice class.