Participating students represented GUSD’s four high schools, Glendale High School, Hoover High School, Crescenta Valley High School, and Clark Magnet High School. The workshop was the initial meeting for a newly-launched program by CASPS called “Yes, I Can.”
The pilot program, “Yes, I Can” brought together GUSD sophomores identified by their counselors as lacking in motivation and not meeting their academic potential. The students were bused from their individual schools to the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Church in La Crescenta. Moderators for the day, co-chairs, Medea Kalognomos and Annette Zarian, were joined by Laura Atoian in presenting students with ideas to motivate them while dealing with the challenges of high school. Throughout the day, students participated in games, activities, and lectures. Zarian focused the attention of the students on the importance of having the right attitude – an attitude that says, “Yes, I Can.” Students then worked in groups to identify challenges they faced in high school and discussed ways to deal with these. Atoian asked students to look deeper into their own attributes, aptitudes, and attitudes as she presented them with a “formula for achievement.” As they ate lunch, students also listened to Dr. Zareh Baghoomian, a local dentist, who graduated from GUSD. Dr. Baghoomian spoke of his own experiences in high school and the importance of setting goals and following through with them. After lunch, students participated in self-esteem building exercises led by Kalognomos. Students left for the day after setting academic goals for themselves for the next semester.
Encouraged by many of the positive evaluations of the workshop by the students, CASPS members and/or volunteers are working to provide mentoring, tutoring and other services as needed for participating students during the course of their high school years. Through close contact with students and their parents, CASPS hopes to attain its goals of being a positive force in the life of these students, helping them reach their academic potential, and seeing them become productive citizens of our community.