hermanos and hermanas studentsOn March 14, 2016, Puente students and faculty from Skyline College made a visit to South San Francisco High School and connected with students from Los Hermanos and Hermanas.  Over 40 high school seniors were in attendance as they are preparing to transition into their first year in community college.

As the day kicked off, Puente English Professor, Lucia Lachmayr, introduced herself and completed a quick presentation outlining the Puente model, mission and goals.  Next, it was time for the Puentistas to take over the show!  Skyline College students, Koryna Barajas, Kim Cano, Natalia Gomez, Cassandra Gutierrez, Jose Gutierrez, and Lizandro Recinos introduced themselves and shared their background and experience being in Puente.  Following introductions, each of the Puentistas led a team building activity – each Puentista grouped up with 6 to 7 Hermano and Hermana students, passing out small cards with questions, questions ranged from, “if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be” to “if you could sit front row at any concert, which would it be and why.” This activity had students smiling, laughing, and connecting their newly befriended Puentista!

Next, it was time for the Puente student panel, where the Puentistas were able to share their wisdom to the Hermano and Hermana students. Each Puentista had their unique story, sharing the barriers they faced and how they overcame them.  As the panel went on, it transitioned into a question and answer where each student had the opportunity to answer questions for Hermano and Hermana students.  The information and experience they received from the Puentistas was invaluable and eased the nervousness as they prepare for college.

Following the Puente student panel, Puente Counselor, Melanie Espinueva+Aure, led another team building activity, “build the highest tower.”  Again, each Puentista grouped up their Hermano and Hermana students and took on the challenge of building the highest tower using only the materials provided which included paper, plastic cups, tape, and straws.  Students were cutting, taping, folding, and doing whatever they could to build the highest tower.  Students showed their creativeness with one group who built a tower over 5 feet tall!  The students reflected on the activity and connected it to strategies for academic success both in high school and college. The teamwork and collaboration amongst the Hermano and Hermana students with their Puentista had them filled with excitement!

As the day came to an end, Puentistas shared their final words of wisdom, each saying something to motivate and inspire our future leaders.  It was a great event, one that was extremely beneficial for our Puentistas and our Hermano and Hermana students.  With such a successful event, there was no better way to end with a unity clap and a group “Sí, se puede​​​!”.

Article and Photo by Alberto Santellan and Melani Espinueva+Aure