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First Rocketship Fellows Cohort Reflects on a Summer of Learning

This past summer, Rocketship Public Schools wrapped up its first ever cohort of fellows: three Bay Area high school students interned with our Family Recruitment Team as part of the new Rocketship Fellows program, which aims to give soon-to-be college students a closer perspective on what it means to be an educator, help build their communication skills by working directly with families, as well as their career-readiness by building resumes, and articulating their stories. The paid fellows spent four weeks learning about Rocketship’s mission and core values, getting to know our educators, sharpening their communication skills, and connecting with and recruiting families directly through tabling at events. At the end of their fellowship, they had saved up enough money to contribute to their college funds!

The Rocketship Fellows program is in partnership with Breakthrough Silicon Valley, an educational non-profit offering summer and after school academic enrichment to under-resourced students in San Jose. Together, we look forward to equipping local students with everything they need to succeed in college and beyond.

This year, Chau, Lizette, and Ashley were our inaugural fellows who did a phenomenal job. Aside from helping us reach new families, they gave us important insight on what it’s like to be a high school student today, and what kind of world they’d like to see in the future.

When speaking with Lizette, a senior at Abraham Lincoln high school, she told us about her own disappointing experience as a multilingual student in the public school system and how she felt that it had failed her.

 

“… I was in all these other programs apart from [school] because my mom didn’t know why I couldn’t read properly or why I couldn’t write properly, why I couldn’t memorize words, I couldn’t write them, I still have trouble now…”

She told us about how she was categorized as an ESL student early on and how that blocked her from certain learning opportunities that would have benefited her throughout elementary school and beyond.

Despite her experience, Lizette shared she would like to be a math or chemistry teacher because, as a multilingual student who had to maneuver through an English-centered classroom, she has a special way of breaking down complex concepts and could use that skill to help other students.

Similarly, Ashley, a senior at Archbishop Mitty High School, told us about how she too looks forward to helping young students in the future.

This desire to help others stems from her own experiences as the eldest daughter of immigrant parents; she told us about how her mother wasn’t able to help her and her siblings with their homework as much as she would have liked, so it was up to Ashley to make sure she and her younger siblings completed their assignments correctly.

When asked about her key takeaways from this fellowship, she said something that really spoke to her was how, for the first time, she got to know teachers as human beings and not just relayers of information.

“I get so emotional talking about Rocketship because it’s literally like family to me now. Being able to talk to [educators] as friends and to make these connections – they’re going way beyond my expectations and it’s just a wonderful experience for me.”

Our third fellow, Chau, a senior at Yerba Buena High School, shared how meeting our teachers & hearing their stories left her feeling inspired. As someone who is particularly interested in social justice, Chau was very interested in hearing about how Rocketship teachers incorporated DEI into their community meetings and daily lessons.

“I took away that Rocketship really likes to be open with the community and talk about [social justice issues] to have kids understand – I really liked that.”

While our fellows walked away with improved communication skills and beefier resumes, we feel very lucky to have gotten a peek into the minds of three young community members and future leaders. Similar to how Ashley mentioned being excited to see what current Rocketeers go on to achieve, we at Rocketship can’t wait to see what our first cohort of fellows will accomplish in the future.

Interested in seeing a day in the life of our fellows? Check it out here!

Published on December 3, 2021

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