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Summer Academy 2019 University of Utah First Star Academy

The University of Utah First Star Academy

is a long-term, intensive college preparatory program for youth in foster care.

First Star scholars come from a diverse array of backgrounds, but all share the thread of traumatic life histories that have cut childhood short and posed enormous barriers to education.

Nationally, less than 50% of youth in foster care will graduate high school, and less than 3% will enroll in college.

During our monthly Saturday Academies and month-long residential Summer Academies, First Star focuses on academics, life skills, self-advocacy and caregiver engagement. First Star scholars live on the University of Utah campus for one month every summer for all four summers of high school.

For students who participate in First Star Academies, 99% of scholars graduate high school and 93% enroll in college.

First Star scholar achievements at the 2019 Summer Academy:

MATH

235%

is the average percentage increase in math test scores over the four weeks of daily math instruction at Summer Academy.

LANGUAGE ARTS

156%

is the average percentage increase in grammar test scores over the four weeks of daily Language Arts instruction at Summer Academy.

ACADEMIC MOTIVATION

73%

is the percentage of students who feel motivated to work harder in high school after Summer Academy.

ACADEMIC CAPACITY

73%

feel more academically capable after Summer Academy

ELECTIVES

40

is the number of hours scholars spent exploring elective classes in studio arts, economics and healthy relationships.

Thank you to the following community partners for making this possible!

COLLEGE ACCESS

First Star's rising seniors explored higher education options, researched the higher education steps needed to pursue their goals, learned about financial aid and scholarships, and worked on personal statements.

47%

reported an increased capacity to see themselves at college.

LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY AND POLICY PROJECT

First Star Scholars rose to the challenge of leadership and advocacy. After a month researching issues such as the school-to-prison pipeline, affordable housing and the conditions of juvenile detention centers, scholars heard their powerful voices resound in the Utah State Capitol. From personal experience, research, and data analysis, scholars spoke of what they had learned about the issue they chose, and made policy recommendations to community members in a legislative committee room.

The Committee

included Rebecca Chavez-Houck, former Utah House Representative; Tasha Williams, Utah Juvenile Defender Attorney; Martin Muñoz, Salt Lake City Corporation; Fatima Dirie, Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office of Diversity & Human Rights; and Kyle Ethelbah, Director of the University of Utah TRIO programs.

Thank you!

for hearing First Star scholars speak and offering such incredible insight into the power of their voices.

The Educators

A variety of organizations and individuals came together to facilitate the day at the legislature, and helped First Star scholars research and present: Nubia Pena, Claudia Loayza, Jenny Hor and Rozanna Benally-Sagg from the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs; Jojo Liu from the Utah Indigent Defense Commission; Anna Thomas from Voices for Utah Children; Jerry Stott, education specialist at First Star; Marlen Olmedo-Estrada and Senator Jerry Stevenson from the Utah State Senate.

https://multicultural.utah.gov/first-star-academys-day-at-the-capitol-engaging-youth-and-elevating-stories/

Senator Jerry Stevenson

saw First Star students in the hallway, and recognized them as the amazing individuals that they are. Senator Stevenson stopped his day to welcome First Star into the Senate chamber and answer students' questions.

SELF-ADVOCACY

67%

of scholars feel that after Summer Academy, they can better advocate for themselves.

LIFE SKILLS

6

is the number of student subcommittees that helped to plan Summer Academy. In each subcommittee, scholars practiced life skills such as organizing, planning, facilitating, budgeting and working with others. Subcommittees included:

  • Special Events
  • Meals
  • Weeknight Activities/Social Media
  • Weekend Activities
  • Student Choice (i.e. physical activity)
  • Resident Advisory

LEADERSHIP

7

is the number of Student-Staff positions awarded after an application process. Student-staff is a year-long leadership appointment that plans Academies, brainstorms solutions, tutors peers, collects data and advocates for the diverse needs of students.

COMMUNITY

67%

of scholars feel that after Summer Academy, they belong to a community.

FRIENDSHIPS

67%

of scholars feel that they are more capable of making friends after Summer Academy.

CONFIDENCE

60%

feel more confident entering this school year after Summer Academy.

Last but not least,

For kids who've raised younger siblings, nursed parents, and attended an average of nine schools by ninth grade--all while keeping their grades up--

At Summer Academy 2019,

FIRST STAR KIDS GOT TO BE KIDS

with the help of an amazing staff team

A Huge THANK YOU to our Donors, Volunteers and Supporters:

Foundations

  • Atticus Books & Teahouse
  • B.W. Bastian Foundation
  • Jeff and Helen Cardon Foundation
  • Cucina
  • Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation
  • DoTerra Essential Oils
  • George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation
  • Feldman's Deli
  • Foster the Children
  • Harbor Steak & Seafood
  • Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation
  • In-n-Out Burger Foundation
  • Kahlert Foundation
  • Lassonde Institute/David Eccles School of Business
  • Merit Medical
  • Herbert I. & Elsa B. Michael Foundation
  • Larry H. Miller and Gail Miller Family Foundation
  • Neilsen Foundation
  • Pago
  • Sorenson Legacy Foundation
  • Upstart Ventures
  • Varex Imaging

Individuals

  • Alex Smith and Liz Smith
  • Alex Yrungaray
  • Alonso Reyna Rivarola
  • Betty Holmberg and Larry Holmberg
  • Bronson Bohnet
  • Dixie Lehman
  • Emilio Manuel Camu
  • Evan Vickers, Utah Senator
  • Francis Gibson, Utah Representative
  • Hugo Ferreira
  • Irene Ota
  • Jason Blauch
  • Jerry Stevenson, Utah Senator
  • Jessica Goulding
  • Jim and Stacia Nusbaum
  • Julia Jones and Ken Jones
  • J. Stuart Adams, Utah Senator
  • Karen Wilcox
  • Kate Hubrich
  • Keith Grover, Utah Senator
  • Kelly Brink
  • Linda Paternina
  • Logan Meyers
  • Mandi Titcomb
  • Mark St. Andre
  • Martha Bradley
  • Martha Macomber
  • Mary Jane Taylor
  • Melissa Ballard, Utah Representative
  • Mutsumi Bramble
  • Nicole Batt
  • Patricia Platts
  • Rachel Everitt
  • Rachel Hayes-Harb and Basil Harb
  • Rebecca Cengiz-Robbs and Troy Robbs
  • Ricky Ballesteros
  • Sandra Rideout
  • Sandi Pershing
  • Sol Jimenez
  • Steve Borst
  • Steve Shotts
  • Susan Forti
  • Tamara and Larry Hamilton
  • Tawanda Owens
  • Thomas Parks and Patricia Legant
  • Tracy Allen
  • Victor Emmanuel Solorzano-Gringeri

First Star National

  • Peter Samuelson
  • Robin Winston
  • Lyndsey Collins
  • Brian Ritchey
  • Erin Buchanan
  • Jennyann Gallo

Board of Directors

  • Steve Borst, Q Therapeutics
  • Sandi Pershing, Founding Director of U of U First Star Academy
  • Crystal Vail, Department of Child and Family Services
  • Candida Darling, Salt Lake Community College
  • Jojo Liu, Indigent Defense Commission
  • Jennifer Mauer, Foster Parent
  • Chad McDonald, School of Social Work and Social Research Institute
  • Liz Smith, Alex and Liz Smith Foundation
  • Ricky Ballesteros, Extraordinary Human
  • Rachel Hayes-Harb, Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies U of U
  • Troy D'Ambrosio, Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

Thank you especially to the First Star families and First Star students!

THANK YOU

FOR YOUR SUPPORT. WE WOULD NOT BE HERE WITHOUT YOU.