Saratoga hosts exchange program with Yerba Buena

March 10, 2009 — by Rebecca Nguyen and Apeksha Sharma

On Feb. 25, 40 total students from both Yerba Buena and Saratoga High School exchanged places as part of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program. This experience was a way for the students to explore a different academic world.

The experience was initiated by an e-mail from a Yerba Buena teacher to English teacher Kerry Mohnike, who coordinates a newly revised GATE program this year. Yerba Buena is an eastside San Jose high school that stuggles with issues like gangs and graduation rates.

“Yerba Buena is not that far apart geographically, but demographically they are significantly different,” said Mohnike. “It gave both groups of students an opportunity to meet students that they may end up meeting later in college.”

Throughout the day, SHS students followed their given host to all their classes. The same went for the students visiting Saratoga. During lunch, the students had another presentation from an alumnus from the school.

“We had a speaker during lunch and he graduated from that school. He is also really successful now as an anchorman,” said Tu. “They are trying to show that you can come from anywhere and still be successful.”

Junior Varun Parmar, who hosted a Yerba Buena senior, felt the students who visited here were different than many Saratoga kids but nice.

“I think all of them were really nice and open to talk and make friends,” said Parmar. “It was definitely a different type of community. They fit in well with my friends and I talked to many of them.”

Junior Maddy Renalds was another student on the trip who shadowed a senior at Yerba Buena.

“He took me around on a tour and I was with some of my friends from here because they had some of the same classes,” said Renalds.

The people there also had a different mind-set than most Saratoga students.

“It’s a little unfortunate the students there weren’t really driven, not like Saratoga where people are way over excessive about academics and where we are going unlike the majority of these people,” said Renalds. “So it was sort of like a polar opposite.”

There were many differences that stood out to Renalds such as Yerba Buena only having eight AP classes and a tight dress code. She noticed school resources were also scarce with a lack of books and other materials.

“I noticed that some of their resources like textbooks were lacking. It made me appreciate what we had here,” said Renalds. “It sort of showed that education needs a lot of work.”

3 views this week