Game of the Week: Vista vs. Oceanside

By Katia Lopez-Hodoyan
|  Friday, Oct 1, 2010  |  Updated 12:16 PM PDT
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Game of the Week: Vista vs. Oceanside

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The Vista High Panthers will take on the Oceanside Pirates Friday night. But besides sports, there's a lot more going on in both these campuses.

For three years, Oceanside High School has been strengthening a program called "School Success," that helps at risk students right on campus.

"A lot of these students don't have a mom and a dad… to really be able to monitor how their kids are doing at school," said Oceanside High Administrator Julie Coleman. "I think here, for the first time they feel success. They don't want to leave that feeling."

The program is designed to support students who could run the risk of dropping out of high school. Two teachers are assigned to the class to help the teenagers in any subject they may need help in. Right beside them, model students who are involved in sports, ASB and AP courses are also ready to help. 

"It's a good environment to be in," said Freshman Eduardo Gabireo. "If you need any help with anything they will help you. They've taught me to never quit."

Research shows, most drop out feel disconnected to their school. This program tries to get students back on track. So far  has been successful.

"A lot of former "School Success" kids that are now juniors and seniors are in three or four AP classes," adds Coleman. "They are applying to UC schools and feeling like they have the skills to move on to college."

At Vista High School, building strength of character is the main priority. The school prides itself with teaching six pillars of character to its students: Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

"It's all about having kids empower themselves," said Vista High School teacher David Hanlon. "They can change themselves and they can change the world."

Hanlon teaches a course on building character. A big part of the class is volunteering on and off campus.

"I was able to organize a book drive on campus to send to children in Uganda," said Vista Senior, Kristi Petitt.
 
In the last few years, senior Chloe Nyenhuis has volunteered in hospitals, AIDS walk, beach clean ups and even animals. She says it's not only fun, but productive.

"You get to put all those hours toward your college application," says the teen as she smiles.

On another side of campus, Vista High students are learning everything they can about cars in their Auto-shop class.

"We have some of the latest stuff you see at dealerships," said auto shop teacher Tim Mccreary.

"Students can re-build engines, transmissions and suspensions."

Vista High School is one of a few local schools that still offer this type of class. Students have learned to read car computers and have even built their own off road racing car.
Aside from having fun, the students also learn practical problem solving skills.

"We finished a 73' Jaguar, we also did a 69' Camero, said Mccreary with pride. Both those cars were kind of forgotten in their garage for 18 or 20 years. We were able to do the motors, the transmission, the suspension, upgrade the brakes. Really a compete transformation."

Car owners from around the community, usually bring in their cars, buy all the parts -- and let the students do the rest.

"It's really a win, win for everyone," adds Mccreary.

The high school football match between Oceanside High School and Vista High will be at 7 p.m. on Friday. It will be a home game for Vista.

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