Tahoe Truckee Aim High hits academic target

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Summer is a magical time in Tahoe/Truckee and this summer, Aim High was an academic encore.

Aim High, a nationally renowned summer program based in the San Francisco Bay Area, opened its first satellite program in Kings Beach in 2012.

This summer, the program doubled in size from 50 students to 100 middle-school youth.

Aim High is a five-week, tuition-free program and prioritizes students from less-advantaged communities who will be the first in their family to attend college. Led by Co-Directors Katie Jamison and Carl Siegel, a staff of local teachers, college and high school youth, year No. 2 of Aim High was a rousing success.

The program concluded with a Celebration Day on Aug. 1, where student work was on display and various activities performed — a magical conclusion to the Aim High summer.

A typical Aim High day is rich with learning.

All students take science, math, humanities and a specialized class called issues and choices. This coursework encourages retention and provides hands-on opportunities for students to prepare for the upcoming school year.

The curriculum provided students with a new focus, with a reading initiative included in this summer’s program. Each student was challenged to reach one of three goals: 48,000 words, 72,000 words and 96,000 words.

With each milestone the students received a raffle ticket, making them eligible for an Amazon Kindle. Students throughout the program rose to the challenge, and two students became victors on Celebration Day, one receiving an Amazon gift card and the other the Kindle. To foster this love of reading, the Kings Beach Library was generous enough to donate one book to each student during Week No. 1 of the program.

Rising seventh-graders researched potential college options online in their issues and choices class based on student interests and career options. Students analyzed the potential costs and reflected upon the question, “Is college the right choice for me?”

The results from this assignment both motivated students and inspired detailed questions for the tour guides at UNR, who hosted a college field trip.

Every afternoon, students chose from an array of electives including: drama, jewelry making, soccer, yoga, skateboarding, yearbook, chalk art, Tahoe adventures, random acts of kindness, cooking, biking, spray paint art, gardening, Zumba, creative writing, stand-up paddleboarding, golf, and rock climbing.

These activities provided students the opportunities to explore and experience the environment in which they live.

Find following vendors and supporters whose contributions made this array of activity possible: Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe; Tahoe Paddle and Oar; North Tahoe Adventures Treetop Adventure Park; Truckee River Rafting; High Altitude Climbing Gym; Perennial Nursery; Tahoe Dave’s; The Office Boss; Old Brockway Golf Course; and the Kings Beach Miniature Golf Course.

Aim High is grateful for the support of many local funders, including the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Excellence in Education and the Queens of Hearts.

Additionally, the Cowell Foundation has played an invaluable role in the launch of Tahoe Truckee Aim High.

Lastly, they deeply appreciate their close partnership with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and Superintendent Dr. Leri.

Tahoe Truckee Aim High is already looking forward to summer, 2014 when they will continue to make a difference in the youth of the community. For information visit

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