Comet Day aims to recruit local seniors

By Nijzel Dotson, Advocate Staff

As a way to introduce future students to the campus and all it has to offer, Contra Costa College Comet Day will be held Thursday, complete with attractions, tours and presentations from various departments.

Roughly 250-300 local high school seniors who have RSVP’d for the event will arrive on buses just before 9:30 a.m. for the events’ opening session.

The meeting will be hosted by members of the Associated Student Union (ASU) and will include student-led informative panels.

There will also be an address by Contra Costa College President Katrina VanderWoude.

After the opening session concludes, visiting students will be given tours of the campus with the option of participating in workshops in their various departments of interest.

The annual event, formerly known as “Super Saturday,” has been moved to the midweek in order to draw in more students.

Organizers also believe the change increases the impact of the event.

Outreach Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks is responsible for bringing the event together.

“The goal is to highlight the programs and unique opportunities that CCC has to offer its students,” Nickelson-Shanks said.

For the student panel, Nickelson-Shanks made sure to select a group of students who represent the diversity of the school and believes that great diversity is one of CCC’s strengths.

Mayra Martinez, one of the students on the panel, also sees the value in having students from different backgrounds speaking to future students.

“The people on the panel are the students who are going to be helping them in the future and it will be good for them to see that they’re properly represented,” Martinez said.

Martinez, who is a STEM major, is excited to talk to the visiting students about campus life as well as the many resources CCC provides to support its students.

Those resources include the Adelante STEM Academy, which provides internships, free counseling and a book loan program.

“I want to show that Contra Costa College is more than a commuter school,” Martinez said.

Nickelson-Shanks said the visiting students are from local West Contra Costa Unified School District high schools who have shown interest in the college, but are not yet registered because registration for fall classes will not be open until May 15.

CCC outreach staffers reached out to students from every high school in the district to find those ready for a preview of the campus experience.

The outreach efforts included an application process and a student poll that helped place students into groups based on the subjects in which they are most interested.

There are more than 30 workshops that will be offered at Comet Day in order to fit the needs of every student.

Minerva Arebalo, a CCC student ambassador, helped with both the recruiting and the planning process for the event by visiting different schools and trying to get students registered to attend.

She said, “There is a negative stigma (in the local high schools) about CCC that I detest. We have so many programs and opportunities that help students transfer and graduate.

“Also, (we have) things that make life easier for students like the Food Pantry and free therapy sessions.”