Lucerne Valley’s high school and middle school AVID program members took a recent day to experience life beyond the High Desert. A field trip to Loyola Marymount University and global security provider Northrop Grumman gave students ample food for thought about possible college and career choices in the Los Angeles area.
Leading the group on the February 22 full-day excursion were AVID high school elective teacher Linda Schlenz and her middle school counterpart, Naomi “Ms. O” Oyadomari.
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination and today serves about 1.5 million students worldwide. Lucerne Valley Unified School District’s AVID program teaches college and career readiness by teaching skills and behaviors for academic success, providing support with tutorials and strong student/teacher relationships, creating a positive peer group for students and developing a sense of hope for personal achievement gained through determination and hard work.
Two Loyola University students led the tours around campus, which included shared stories at the Catholic church, gymnasium, coffee shop, food court, dorms, art center, book store, and more. The view which overlooked the Hollywood Sign to the north and the ocean to the south was spectacular. Many students are able to intern at local jobs as they finish their education at Loyola University. Students are able to form and join clubs to travel locally or abroad. The classes are centered on hands-on learning rather than lectures. Many Lucerne Valley middle school and high school students loved the campus, the many majors, and the location. A few students said they hoped to attend Loyola University in the future.
"Seeing the Hollywood sign and the beach was a great view! I would consider going to Loyola University for the art and photography classes,” said student Blaze Rivera. "The Loyola University tour was a highlight, as well as enjoying the food at Chick Fil-A,” student Amanda Aguilar said.
Student Ruby Thompson was enjoyed learning about the religion offered at Loyola. The University is committed to Roman Catholicism and takes its inspiration from the combined heritage of the Jesuits, the Marymount Sisters, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.
At Northrop Grumman, the students enjoyed some video clips about innovative products. The tours were led by scientists and employees who shared their knowledge of the past voyages into space, as well as the future plans. The James Webb Space Telescope project has been in the works for fifteen years, to the tune of 8 billion dollars by the time of the launch in the spring of 2019. There were 450 workers on campus the day we visited.
"I liked the simulation of flying an aircraft like a pilot,” student Thomas Salbino said. Student Ruby Thompson especially enjoyed watching the Northrop Grumman technicians working on the telescope.
The 17 men, working on many pieces of large equipment, were working in a clean room (cleaner than any room used for surgeries at a hospital). They were completely dressed from head to toe in white suits and they breathed through a screened mask. They looked like doctors, except their outfits were white, instead of blue. They all had ear buds and were collaborating with one another. We watched from another room and saw the design of how the telescope will unfold its eighteen mirrors in space to take pictures of parts of the universe which have not yet been seen.
To learn more about the Middle School’s AVID program, search for Lucerne Valley Middle/High School AVID Program on Facebook.