Be A Mentor: MESA High School Seeking Volunteers for the Class of 2014

MESA is seeking mentors for the graduating class of 2014. The senior year is a busy time filled with excitement and anxiety surrounding preparation for life after high school. All MESA seniors will be applying to at least four colleges and four scholarships. This process includes; filling out college applications, writing a personal statement, editing essays for scholarships, requesting letters of recommendation, retaking the ACT or SAT, applying for FAFSA, preparing a resume, practicing interview skills and making a lot of tough decisions about the future. If you would like to help a small group of seniors (4-5 students) as they navigate through this process please see the time commitment below.

Volunteer Commitment

Informational Meeting: Wednesday Aug 28th from 5:30-6:30 pm at Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts. The new MESA building is located at 8980 York Street, Suite A, Thornton, CO 80229. We will meet on the third floor in the Post-Secondary Options room. We will provide more detailed information about the MESA Mentors program and offer insight from former students and mentors who have participated in the program. This is also a time we can answer any questions you may have about this opportunity.

Mentor Responsibilities:

Monthly meetings: Mentors will come to MESA once a month to meet with their mentees. Mentors will spend the first half hour with the Post-Secondary Coach and Transition Coordinator for a 30 minute training on the day’s topic. Mentors will then have 90 minutes of work time with their group of students to check in with each of them, help them with the project we are working on that day, and make goals for the coming month. The last 20 minutes is spend in a class debrief and celebrations. Monthly Topics are outlined below.

Email and Phone Communication: We hope that students and mentors will keep in touch between monthly meetings. We would like mentors and students to correspond with each other via email, texting or phone every other week if possible.

Tentative Dates for 2013-14 Finalized Dates will be reviewed at Information Session

Tuesday Sept 17th 1:00-3:20 Introductions and getting to know your students-Resumes and Personal Statements

Tuesday Oct 8th 1:00-3:20 Editing the Personal Statement and the College List

Tuesday Nov 5th 1:00-3:20 College Application Day

Tuesday Dec 10th 1:00-3:20 College Application Day

Tuesday Jan 14th 1:00-3:20 Understanding Financial Aid/ Mapleton Scholarship

Tuesday Feb 11th 1:00-3:20 Mapleton Scholarship

Tuesday March 11th 1:00-3:20 MESA Mock Interview Day

Tuesday April 15th 1:00-3:20 PSO Portfolio for Passages

Tuesday May 6th 1:00-3:20 Decision Making Time and End of Year Celebration

Optional: Friday May23rd (Time TBD) Senior Passage Presentations

Optional: Thursday May 29th 6:00-9:00 pm MESA Graduation Ceremony

Contact Us and Register for Information Session:

The feedback from students is overwhelmingly positive and mentors have expressed that the experience is very rewarding. Please consider this opportunity. If you think you can make this commitment please contact Katie Bailey at baileyk@mapleton.us or 303-908-3400 to register for the information session on Wed Aug 28th from 5:30-6:30pm.

MESA is located at 8980 York Street, Suite A, Thornton, CO 80206, 10 miles north of Denver.

 

Posted in Higher Achievement, Topplers News.

2013 University of California Santa Cruz Domino Award

Brittany Arthur

The first Domino Award at University of California Santa Cruz was recently awarded by Topplers to Brittany Arthur, a junior in the Game Design program in the Computer Science department at the Baskins School of Engineering.

Brittany’s essay on Alan Turing was a standout in the submissions we received. She received a $500 scholarship and will join winners Alex Tsankov from University of Colorado and Nithin Jilla from University of California Irvine on an all-expenses paid trip to experience innovations in technology first-hand.

Brittany told us that one of her greatest interests has been in designing, testing, and observing learning environments for 4th-7th graders in science and math. After college she looks forward to being involved in developing STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) educational games and learning tools.

Topplers would like to thank our sponsors for generously supporting the Domino Award:  Adeptive SoftwareApplied TrustClickBank, and Gold Systems. Our sponsors have been vital in expanding the Domino Award this year and we are grateful for their continued support. And a special thanks to Jim Whitehead Chair of the Computer Science department and Charlie McDowell Associate Dean of Engineering for Undergraduate Affairs for their work in bringing the Domino Award to their students.
Posted in Topplers Domino Award, Topplers News.

2013 University of California Irvine Domino Award Presentation

Nithin UCI 2013

Nithin Jilla (c) is presented with the 2013 Domino Award by Hal Stern (l), Dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science and Tony Givargis, Associate Dean for Student Affairs (r).

Topplers was very excited to present our first Domino Award at University of California Irvine this past May. With the help of André van der Hoek, the Chair of the Department of Informatics, the Domino Award was offered to students in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences.

We had lots of great submission and the winning essay on Grace Hopper’s impact on computer science was submitted by Nithin Jilla. Nithin just graduated this spring and already has an impressive resume of accomplishments.

Nithin received a $500 scholarship and will join winners Alex Tsankov from University of Colorado and Brittany Arthur from University of California Santa Cruz on an all-expenses paid trip to experience innovations in technology first-hand.

Topplers would like to thank our sponsors for generously supporting the Domino Award:  Adeptive SoftwareApplied TrustClickBankGold Systems, and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. Our sponsors have been vital in expanding the Domino Award this year and we are grateful for their continued support.

Posted in Topplers Domino Award, Topplers News.

2013 Domino Award Presentation at University of Colorado

Topplers founder Herb Morreale (L) discusses meeting Richard Stallman with 2013 Domino Award winner and CU freshman Alex Tsankov (R).

Topplers founder Herb Morreale (L) discusses meeting Richard Stallman with 2013 Domino Award winner and CU freshman Alex Tsankov (R).

Topplers was excited to award the 2013 Domino Award to Alex Tsankov, a freshman in the Computer Sciences Department at University of Colorado Boulder (CU). Alex’s essay on Richard Stallman’s lasting influence on computing was selected to receive a $500 scholarship and an all-expenses paid trip to experience innovations in technology first-hand.

Topplers would like to thank our sponsors for generously supporting the Domino Award:  Adeptive Software, Applied Trust, ClickBank, and Gold Systems. Our sponsors are essential to helping keep the Domino Award going every year and we are grateful for their continued support.

 

Posted in Topplers Domino Award, Topplers News.

Topplers Awards 3 Book Scholarships at MESA High School

Topplers was proud to present 3 book scholarships to graduating seniors at MESA High School in Thornton, Colorado. The winning essays were given $350 book scholarships which were awarded at an assembly of their peers a few weeks before graduation. Chris Westfall, the Topplers board president, spoke about domino theory and the difference that all the students can make in the world by setting big things in motion.

Seniors Raquel Lane, Chim Lee, and Alicia Ruiz submitted outstanding essays (respectively) about how Tiananmen Square’s Tank Man, the Adams County Youth Council, and the power of a Smile are all small things that can and have made a big difference on the world.

We wish these three winners and all of the graduates the best of luck in their future studies.

Chim Lee (l) is presented with a book scholarship by Chris Westfall (r ) at MESA High School

Chim Lee (l) is presented with a book scholarship by Chris Westfall (r ) at MESA High School

Alicia Ruiz (l) speaks with Chris Westfall (r ) about receiving a Topplers book scholarship

Alicia Ruiz (l) speaks with Chris Westfall (r ) about receiving a Topplers book scholarship

Posted in Higher Achievement, Topplers News.

Topplers’ Annual Report

2012 Annual ReportThe last year has seen some exciting developments for Topplers. The generosity of the donations we have received has helped set in motion some significant impacts in the programs, or Branches, we support.

Topplers has gone from being a visionary idea for “setting big things in motion,” to an impactful set of tools, programmatic support and fiscal backing – helping in the creation and expansion of Branches, which are making meaningful impacts in the communities they serve. In addition, this past year has been one of great planning and preparation to take Topplers to the next stage of growth.

Check out the Toppers’ 2012 Annual Report to find out more on what we have been working on.

 

Posted in Topplers News.

How will Topplers support young cancer patients?

As Topplers and our supporters started looking at how we might be able to use Topplers to help support young cancer patients during their treatment and recovery, we kept thinking about Alex’s Lemonade Stand.http://www.alexslemonade.org Alex was a 4-year old cancer patient who opened a lemonade stand to raise money for other kids with cancer. Her inspirational story led to a flood of donations, and the creation of a foundation in her name.

Like Alex, many young patients are looking for a way to help give back to the people and communities that have supported them and their families through their treatment and recovery process. But being confined to a hospital room can make connecting difficult.

With the help of the staff who work with the children and their families, Topplers will be launching a pilot program in early 2013. Patients who participate will start by selecting their own big idea and by telling us their story and why this cause is important to them.  We will then add their branch to the Topplers website and community page, and provide dominoes that the patient will hand out to family, friends and supporters.  Topplers will help promote the new branch, provide support, guidance and tips to ensure that every patient is successful in achieving their goal.

We believe this program will make a big difference in the lives of kids, and their families, who face some really serious challenges.  We think the program can be a valuable therapeutic tool, helping patients stay connected with people outside the hospital, giving them a chance to direct their aspirations and goals in a creative way.

Posted in Making A Difference, Topplers News.

The Birth of a New Branch

Making a Difference teen

Making a Difference is the newest Topplers Branch. In the works since early 2012, we’re excited to let you know what we’ve been doing to get this Branch up and running. But first, how we got started…
Donna, a pediatric oncology nurse, noticed that her young patients were spending long stretches of time at the hospital during their treatments and recovery time. The nature of the treatments, leaves them confined to their beds and weakens their immune systems, so they don’t get to leave the hospital. She started thinking about how these patients could pass the time, focusing their energy in a positive way, while staying connected to their friends and communities.

A cancer diagnosis is, as you can imagine, overwhelming for a young person and their family. the first weeks and months are spent processing loads of information from their caregivers and communications from foundations and nonprofits that want to support them through the treatment process. They are supported by their doctors, nurses, hospital psychologists, volunteers, entertainers visiting the hospital, family, and friends. And as the initial shock of the diagnosis wears off, and their new lives in treatment become routine, many are looking for a way to give back to those that are helping them out.

Helping others while confined to a hospital is difficult, but the modern technology that helps us stay connected offers up great possibilities. Topplers’ Making a Difference program will be providing the tools and the support to help these extraordinary young people to take their big ideas, launch them, and help them grow.

Stay tuned for how we plan to do this.

Posted in Making A Difference, Topplers News.

The 2012 Domino Award Trip Experience

A Visit to High Tech Mecca

As part of the Domino Award, recipients are taken on a trip to see technological innovation first-hand. This year we took 2012 winner, John Lenz, and 2011’s winners, Valerie Chang and Ian Smith on a two day whirlwind tour in the San Francisco Bay Area. 2010 Domino Award winner, Katie Corner joined us, as she now call the Bay Area home, and helped to arrange our lodging and schedules for the trip. We had a slightly ominous start with a 1.5 hr. flight delay, then a bit of a fiasco with Hertz, resulting in missing our meeting with Chase McMichael, President and CEO of  InfiniGraph.

Our first stop kicked things off with a bang when we met with Silicon Valley Veteran, Bill Coleman.  Bill, your sage advice will ring in our ears for years.  We were honored that you fit us into your busy schedule.

Next, we were off to Twilio where we got a behind-the-scenes look at one of the hottest companies in the Bay Area.  Bixby & Kyle, thanks for the great demo, tour, and our first bounty of t-shirts.

We wrapped up the day at Dropbox.  Of course, in standard Bay Area style, we had dinner at the office (for me, prime rib, yes please).   I’ve been around a lot of “cool” tech companies over the years and I have to say that I (along with everyone else) was pretty blown away by Dropbox’s offices.  Matt, thanks for staying late, and sharing your story of how one thing led to another with you joining Dropbox.

The next day we had the pleasure of watching one of the space shuttles make it’s final flight. It was off schedule, throwing off our schedule, but none of us will ever forget the sight.  What a way to start the day!

Our time was short at Facebook, but we had the opportunity to get a feel for the work environment and how they approach recruiting.  Adam, thanks for showing us around, and telling those Instagram guys that we plan to pull up a chair in their “garage” next time we’re around.

Next was a sushi lunch at Google (what else would you expect).  Thanks to Paul, Max, Amer, and Nick for giving us a comprehensive view of life at Google.  I’m not sure any of us could exactly put into words our feelings about Google, but as Katie pointed out (and we all agreed) “it’s like going to geek Disneyland.”

Saturday we had a perfectly beautiful day touring the sites of San Francisco with my friend Ben Runyan.  Over lunch in China Town, Ben educated us about Xylinx’s latest programmable ICs and their use in the broadcast industry.  Ben, thanks for taking time out of your weekend to show us around.

Truly, this was a trip that all of us will never forget.  Thanks to everyone for hosting us, Katie for making all of the arrangements, and to the generous sponsors who made the trip possible.

Posted in Topplers Domino Award, Topplers News.

Inspiration, Education, and Motivation in Action

Chris Stampeders presentation

Topplers’ Chris Westfall presents to the CU Stampeders

Congratulations to University of Colorado incoming freshmen—especially those who are already stepping it up with participation in the Stampede Leadership Program! Good luck to you as you start your first semester. This is your launch pad—so get involved, lead, and make a difference!

FYI for friends of Topplers, we delivered the keynote at the Stampede kick-off yesterday at CU and all 250 enthusiastic participants left with a domino and a dose of some inspiration, education and motivation.

We drew special attention to three remarkable people in the CU community — Professor Tin Tin Su (cancer drug screening innovation),Emma Coburn (Olympian and USA/NCAA champ in steeple chase) and David Rahmani (physics student and extraordinary teaching assistant).

Check out the presentation here – maybe you’ll get your own dose of inspiration, education and motivation.

Posted in Higher Achievement, Topplers News.