Freshmen go to Cal

Freshmen go to Cal

Students sharpened their academic English at college.

Media Academy freshmen practiced code-switching on a field trip to University of California, Berkeley on Sept. 15.

English teacher Sonja Totten-Harris, Journalism teacher Lisa Shafer and Multimedia teacher Howard Ruffner organized the field trip for the freshmen to UC Berkeley. Physiology teacher Paul Strain joined the trip as a chaperon.

Some students said they liked exploring the campus.

“I liked it,” said Marlisha James. “It was a real big college.”

Students spoke with Media Academy graduates Cesar Sanchez and Johnny Phommasya. Sanchez, former editor-in-chief of the Green & Gold, told the students that he had only one class that day and three to four hours of homework to do for the class.

“Their class schedule is so different,” said freshman Nicholas Tuiono.

The freshmen also attended an admissions presentation, where they spoke with Esperanza Bernal, a college adviser.

“She told us that since we’re freshmen, it’s best for us to start [thinking] about college now,” said Brian Randolph.

The students broke up into four groups to explore the campus because official tours could not be scheduled this early in the school year.

Shafer’s group visited Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism at Northgate Hall, where they coincidentally met Contra Costa Times investigative reporter Thomas Peele, a former colleague of Shafer’s.

Some students were amazed with displays in Northgate Hall, including one just inside the entrance.

“There were giant touch screen computers hanging on the wall,” said James. “It had [digital] newspapers and we could read it.”

Several groups went to the Valley Life Sciences Building, where they saw a tyrannosaurus-rex display.

Totten-Harris’ group visited UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium, but  found it closed for construction. They also had a chance to see the outside of the college dorms and to play on a soccer field nearby.

Visiting the college made some students consider applying to UC Berkeley. Randolph enjoyed the field trip and said he would consider applying to the university to major in sociology.

“Cal is a good school,” said Tuiono. “They have over a hundred majors and the campus is very diverse.”

Tuiono would like to apply to UC Berkeley and possibly major in music and dance.

See photos of the field trip on the Green & Gold Facebook page