Monterey Trip Challenges Gifted Learners

Lauren Williams, Staff Writer

32 juniors from the Acalanes School District spent three days in Monterey from Sunday, March 2 to Tuesday, March 4 as part of the Acalanes Gifted and Talented Education (AGATE) program.

AGATE is a voluntary program available to juniors who are interested in learning about the history, culture, and geography of the Monterey area. Participating students also attend 5 two-hour seminars prior to the trip and complete a project which is later showcased.

In order to be selected for the program, students must be recommended by a teacher. To apply for participation, students first volunteer for the AGATE program. Then, according to the AUHSD webpage, students are selected “via lottery within the parameters of school and gender.”

According to the AUHSD, the benefit of having only 32 students is the opportunity to visit places in Monterey that can’t accommodate larger groups.

Students who attended the fall trip to Point Reyes are not eligible to participate in the spring trip.

Librarian Pat Hadley helped out as an extra chaperone and driver. Hadley has attended the trip 4 out the last 9 years. She believes that the project gives students a creative outlet. “They have a lot of creative images inside of them and I think the trip would be really good for them to get out of the box,” said Hadley.

“I like the Monterey trip a little more because there is more history and literature involved,” said Hadley, who has also attended the Point Reyes trip.

Junior Emma Archangel described the program as “a class at night and then we go on a trip to Monterey where we learn about the science history of the area”.

“I thought it would be really cool to meet kids from other schools in the district, and I was also really interested in science and I heard it had a lot to do with marine biology,” Archangel said.

According to junior Morgan Matranga, students visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and kayaked in the Monterey Bay. “I definitely enjoyed the trip the most because we got out of a classroom and got to really be hands on,” said Matranga.

Students have the opportunity to receive 5 elective credits by attending the seminars and the trip as well as completing the project. “Our seminars helped me get a broad idea of what I wanted to do my project on so that I had some strong background knowledge going in to the trip” said Matranga.

After the trip, “students combine the different topics we learn for a project that we present in the library on April 8,” said Archangel. The student’s project must merge two subjects and display knowledge that relates to the Monterey Area.