Future high school freshmen take a leap of faith

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a terrifying experience full of valuable life lessons: jumping off a platform several feet off the ground to grab a rubber chicken.

It seems kind of silly, but these incoming Fresno Unified freshmen are setting themselves up for success.

Angie Barfield, a program specialist with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, says, "It is just great to see them out here working together, some of them didn't even know each other existed until today, now they are friends."

This is the CHIPS program, a partnership between Fresno State and the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. It stands for, character, honor, integrity, perseverance and service.

Starting Monday and over the next four days, about 55 students will be learning about math, English and other curriculum. They will also be participating in team building exercises, unlike anything they've done before.

"It is allowing them to see one another so they understand whether they go to Sunnyside, Edison, or Roosevelt, it does not matter, they all have the same vision, and goal, and that's to graduate high school and go on to college," says Barfield.

The most challenging exercise is the ropes.

Cleveland Brown was the first to take on the challenge, "You have to take risks sometimes, you can't lose anything."

A few nerves were not going to stand in his way, "It was good, there was a lot of adrenaline, a lot of adrenaline. I was shaking when I got up there."

The exercise is like life, there are ups and downs, but having a support network makes all the difference.

Freshman Ariana Mikel said, "In any future, you are pursuing you are going to have to work with a team and if not it is just nice to have those skills."

"Taking all those skills with them through the next four years of high school and then as they enter college, I think we are onto something great," said Barfield.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.