SB2K18: The Great Escape

After traveling for nearly five hours, ND TRiO was welcomed by the crisp 67 degree temperature of San Francisco, California. While staffers were adjusting to the effects of jetlag, ND TRiO participants were eager to visit the home of the 2017 NBA Champions – the Golden State Warriors. Greeted by Anthony Nutting of the Golden State Warriors franchise, participants received a college and career presentation in the private practice facility. “I can’t believe he dreamed of this at our age and now he’s working for the Warriors. I have a plan. Like he said, I just have to plan and execute,” said Jordan Alexander. After taking a few free throws in one of the most coveted arenas in the NBA, students feasted like royalty at Oakland’s Everett and Jones.

While the city’s sights, sounds, and perfect backdrops easily put students in the mood of California Dreamin’, participants were also fascinated by the campuses of Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and San Jose State University. While most participants favored San Jose State University (best overall), Stanford U came in as the most memorable. Receiving a personalized tour of the 8,180 acred campus from TRiO alumni (California-based programs) Marco Antonio Vásquez, Chris Rodriguez, and Aron Nunez, participants also received a motivating panel discussion with other first-generation college students. “I was accepted into some of the nation’s top institutions [Stanford, Duke, Harvard, Yale] with money because of what TRiO has done. Do your work. Go to the workshops. Ask for help. I’m here because of TRiO. Use your resources,” said Nunez. Vásquez echoed his sentiments. “I’m here because they [TRiO] believed in me. When Ms. Jay contacted us. I knew I was coming. I have to give back to the program that gave so much to me.”

To detox from the abundance of information, students also visited Alcatraz Island, the GooglePlex, Pier 39, and various historical markers. To conclude the excursion, students engaged in the typical tourist activity of the Bay Area: watch the sunset while snacking on Ghirardelli’s ice cream at the Fisherman’s Wharf.