Student Spotlight: Jasmine Perez, Arroyo Paseo Charter High School

August 16, 2011

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Student Selected to Participate in Prestigious Girls On Ice Program

Summer for Jasmine Perez has been anything but quiet. In addition to helping out with her eight-year old brother, she's been planning, and anticipating, the trip of her life. No, it's not to an exotic resort, or a beach, or anywhere warm for that matter. It's to the glaciers in the North Cascades in Washington state.

Jasmine, an incoming junior at Arroyo Paseo Charter High School in San Diego, was one of nine students nationwide selected to participate in the Girls On Ice program. Girls On Ice is a wilderness science education program for high school-aged girls that was started over a decade ago. The students get hands-on experience as they work on research, experiments, and presentations alongside professional female scientists.

Jasmine left California to join the other Girls On Ice students on Monday July 25, and for eleven days, she traveled, hiked over glaciers, camped out, and expanded her knowledge and interest for science. CCSA sat down with Jasmine before she left to learn more about this outstanding charter school student.

"We're going to be experimenting on glaciers and basically learning the temperatures," said Jasmine. "I've always been interested in science, and I'm good at it, but this came as a complete shock to me."

That's because Jasmine, who is 16 years old, has never travelled far from her home, nor been on an airplane before.

"There won't be any showers or bathrooms either, but I'm really looking forward to it," she added.

To Dr. Brian Thurman, principal of Arroyo Paseo Charter, Jasmine's selection to the program is a sign of the charter's commitment to students and education.

"Jasmine is the only California student selected this year, and she was chosen out of thousands of other girls nationwide. She truly embodies what our students are capable of achieving," said Dr. Thurman.

She also has come a long way since entering Arroyo Paseo Charter High, where she credits her teachers, in particular Melanie Harrington, with nurturing her love for science. On the day we spoke with her, Jasmine had just finished dissecting a minx.

"There are a lot less people here than in other schools, and it's a really good environment. They've really helped me to overcome a lot of adversity in my life."

"In my Entomology elective, Jasmine is by far the top student. She never sits on a park bench...she's the one down in the canyon. On the flip side, she can sit for 30-45 minutes trying to identify an insect, or count the males and females from our bean beetle population. She caught a jumping spider with egg sack and we are now currently trying to raise the babies. She brought in a sea slug from Mission Bay 2 weeks ago that we dissected. She's in class on time, engaged and just has truly transformed into an outstanding student of science. She is so ready for the adventure this summer," said Professor Harrington.

Now that Jasmine is back, she's gearing up to start classes at Arroyo Paseo again, where she holds a 3.4 GPA.

"I want to go to college...not sure where I want to go yet, but I want to be a veterinarian, I want to help animals," said Jasmine.

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