How TGR Foundation prepares students for college life through virtual Pre-College Retreat
Over the past year, our team has learned to embrace change. Prior to March 2020 – all our incoming Earl Woods Scholars would gather at the TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, CA to partake in our annual Pre-College Retreat. However, this year was different; our team had to pivot and transform an in-person event to a virtual setting.
Our first priority was to keep our scholars safe by having them attend the event from home. Keeping to tradition, the Pre-College Retreat remained a two-day event. We had 15 scholars join us from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Orange County, CA.
As a team our goal was to create a safe virtual environment to discuss topics including financial literacy, mental health, campus resources and safety.
Earl Wood Scholar Program
Class of 2025
We kicked off the first day with a music bingo ice breaker that was led by Daisy Ortiz, our intern from The University of Chicago. Although we were not in-person, it felt like we were all together. We sang hits from previous decades as well as contemporary tunes to the top of our lungs. It was simply magical to see the glee on everyone’s face despite the distance.
Soon after the icebreaker our first workshop, Ask an Academic Advisor, was presented by Bianca Angeles. Unbeknownst to our incoming freshmen scholars, Bianca is one of the five original Earl Woods Scholars that were selected in 2007. She currently works at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as an Academic Advisor and it was wonderful to have her lead a presentation for the newest cohort of scholars. As Bianca began the presentation on how to seek campus resources, photos from 2007 graced her slides. She discussed her time as an Earl Woods Scholar and how she continues to pay her experiences forward. Her words inspired our scholars.
As the day came to an end, we hosted our annual Ultimate Scholar Race. In the past, scholars raced throughout the UCI campus searching for puzzles and solving clues. Given our virtual setting, our team got creative and created the same concept digitally using GooseChase and Zoom breakout groups. As I went from group to group, scholars were laughing as they solved challenges or recorded the most modern dance moves.
After an exciting first day, we were ready for our final day of the Pre-College Retreat. Scholars gathered bright and early on Thursday to participate in our scholar panel lead by three Earl Woods Scholars: Deyra Aguilar (rising sophomore, Wellesley College), Anthony James (rising junior, The University of Chicago) and Dulce Rubio (rising senior, Wesleyan University). Each scholar shared their experience navigating college through the lens of a pandemic and answered concerns our incoming scholars had about moving to a college campus. After a round of applause – our scholars exchanged contact information and smiles.
As a team, we understand that the majority of our scholars are first in their families to go off to college. Some are boarding flights for the first time as they leave their beloved hometowns to head into a new educational adventure. The Pre-College Retreat prepares scholars for any hurdles that come their way. We want our scholars to be their own self-advocates. COVID-19 taught our team that despite the distance, we are all interconnected!
Building student success for 25 years.
The Earl Woods Scholar Program was established in 2006 to support high-potential students with demonstrated need and a commitment to community service. The program is supported by TGR Live events, Bank of the West, Farmers Insurance and our generous community of partners and volunteers. To join us in building accessible pathways to success for underserved youth visit TGRFoundation.org/PathwaysForward.