Busses in front of Bowman High Schools aren’t that unusual. Even bright green ones with the graffiti on the inside.
The green bus – with “Roadtrip Nation” emblazoned on the side – isn’t just any bus, though. And the graffiti is more an open autograph book complete with inspirational messages from people contacted over the last several years by its drivers, called “Road Scholars.”
On Friday morning, Bowman students gathered in a tent on the school quad, safe from the rain to hear from the originators of Roadtrip Nation – an international program that started when four young people graduated from college and asked the age-old question: “Now What?”
Three of the program’s originators – Mike Marriner, Nathan Gebhard and Brian McAllister, and two ‘Roadtrippers,’ Mariana Iglesias and Ray Ricafort – spoke to the students about the Roadtrip Nation and why they were there.
The four weren’t enthusiastic about following the paths expected of them and decided to seek out people who were doing things they found much more interesting and find out how they got there. They picked names from magazines, corporate rosters, production lists and cold-called them for interviews. More than half agreed to meet with them and let the students pick their brains.
What they found was that the traditional march from kindergarten through college wasn’t always the key to happiness and often success. Getting out there, asking questions and developing their own unique talents and skills seemed to work better and the four set out to share that information with young people all over the world.
Bowman is the first continuation high school in California chosen to pilot the Roadtrip Nation Experience, a curriculum-driven program where Bowman students – all 500 of them – will spend at least one day a week working on exploring career opportunities by finding mentors, talking with them and setting their own goals. A grant from College of the Canyons will support video cameras, editing software and staff training, and the students will produce their own film about life.