TRiO Talent Search welcomes middle schoolers

Over the month of May, more than 125 local middle school students will get a taste of college life thanks to Chemeketa’s TRiO Talent Search program.

Talent Search is one of two Chemeketa TRiO programs focused on promoting a college-going culture among our community’s first generation students and their parents. The program serves 544 students annually at North Salem and McKay high schools as well as Houck, Parrish, Waldo and Stephens middle schools.

Campus visits are the culmination of the program’s middle school activities over the past several weeks, including academic success, goal setting, career exploration and high school transition activities lead by Talent Search advisors Marco Aguirre and Joanne Gasca.

“For many of these students, these visits will be their first time setting foot on a college campus,” says Lino Solomon, interim director of TRiO Talent Search and Upward Bound. “We want each student’s experience on campus to pique their interest in college and for them to understand they are on the path to college and career right now and, over the next few years, we will help them along the way.”

During campus visits, students learn about Chemeketa through a presentation and campus tour in addition to enjoying lunch and a planetarium show.


Waldo students pose Baxter the robot during their campus tour


Houck students prepare to watch “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed”



“This is a great way to show students that college is different from their K-12 educational experience in that there will be a focus on a career path of their choosing,” says Debi Meier, Houck Middle School counselor. “A lot of students believe that college is just an extension of their K-12 experiences, and the TRiO program helps with exposing students to a more accurate view of the post-secondary experience.”

Two more visits from Stephens and Parrish middle schools are scheduled for May 25 and 31.


“This field trip was amazing and I learned new things about college,”  says 
Kevin, a Waldo student among his classmates.