SAN GABRIEL, CA – Jefferson Middle School eighth-grader Emma Sieh received a boost of confidence and strengthened her resolve to attend UC Santa Barbara after speaking to one of the college’s representatives during her school’s College Day event.

“The UC Santa Barbara speaker showed us what the campus looked like and everything about the school sounds amazing,” Sieh said. “I think UC Santa Barbara would be a great school to attend, especially since I want to get a degree in psychology to help people and they’re known for their psychological and brain sciences department.”

More than 1,000 Jefferson students donned various college sweaters, shirts and campus colors for the school’s fifth annual College Day event on Nov. 17. The event featured 40 college representative-led workshops throughout the day and culminated in a college-themed tailgate party packed with music, hot dogs, and games.

The event included workshops led by alumni from colleges like Cal State Fullerton, Duke University, New York State, UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Representatives fielded questions from students about campus life, scholarships, sports and study abroad opportunities.

UC Davis alumnus Gregory Wood said the most important part of the event was to teach students the importance of picking a program over picking a college for its name.

“I tell them it’s all about choosing a program over the school name, because some schools won’t have the program they need in order to get into the career they want,” Wood said. “I would love to have all these students choose my alma mater, but I tell them to consider schools like UC Santa Barbara if they want a computer science degree because that’s the school’s specialty.”

Wood also encouraged students to exercise good study habits and make sure they are well-rounded by having good test scores and by taking part in school activities.

Principal Matt Arnold, a Pepperdine University alumnus, spoke about the positive aspects of the private university; including increased academic attention due to smaller class sizes, the school’s history of philanthropy and its beautiful view of Malibu Beach.

Arnold encouraged all students to consider higher education.

“We want every student to walk away from this event knowing that they always have a choice and a way to set themselves up for a good future by pursuing a college education,” Arnold said. “We want to show them that college isn’t scary and that the price of education is manageable since they can obtain financial aid, scholarships, or even endowments.”

Jefferson ASB students held a bean bag toss game in the quad, while students enjoyed a college-theme tailgate party and hot dogs were served fresh off the grill.

The event also featured the San Gabriel Police Department’s Explorers Program for students interested in joining law enforcement.

“Jefferson Middle School’s College Day event is a perfect opportunity for our young students to learn about college life and interesting programs directly from college alumni,” Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “This event helps students learn about the opportunities that are available to help them obtain their career goals.”


112117_SANGAB_TAILGATE1: Jefferson Middle School students pose in front of a truck featuring UCLA gear during their school’s annual College Day event on Nov. 17. The event culminated with a tailgate party featuring music, food and games.

112117_SANGAB_ TAILGATE2: A group of Jefferson Middle School students dressed in USC paraphernalia attend their school’s annual College Day event on Nov. 17. The event featured 40 college representatives detailing campus life, scholarships, sports and study abroad opportunities.