USC Hybrid High Students Unleash the Power of Soft Skills for Success

Achieving academic excellence, applying to college and choosing a career path — these are the common challenges that make many high school students feel overwhelmed. On January 24, thirty juniors from USC Hybrid High School participated in a pilot program to explore an alternative solution to these problems. The class, offered by USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking, was designed to equip high school students with the critical soft skills needed to unleash their full potential and develop academic and career success. 

Having grown up in a Latino immigrant family in South-Central Los Angeles, Third Space fellow Jaime Carias relates to the obstacles and challenges that many Hybrid High students are facing. He shared with the students his life story to encourage them to be future-ready with the right mindset. Carias expressed his excitement to work with a group of talented students and looked forward to seeing the results, “We cannot wait to see what happens and what projects they will present to us in two months.”

To help them better visualize their goals and aspirations, students are asked to design a vision board with magazine cut-outs of powerful words and images that represent their dreams and what they want to be in their lives. “Acting on faith” and “clear the way” are the quotes that Alyssa Villegas, a student of USC Hybrid High, put on her vision board. She explained that she wants to be a businesswoman in the future. “I wanna elaborate the way I think and the way I see things,” said Alyssa.

As an overview of the course, Dr. Ernest Wilson, founding director of Third Space, introduced students to the five Third Space attributes or “ACE-IT” methodology for problem solving: Adaptability, Cultural Competency, Empathy, Intellectual Curiosity, and 360 Degree Thinking. “Our mission here working with you guys is to empower you, so you can have the life you want.” At the end of their training, students are expected to master these attributes and improve effectiveness in the classrooms and beyond.

The program, which will be held through March 17, consists of six  Third Space sessions held at USC Hybrid High School and USC Annenberg.  Under the initiative of Third Space, students will gain cutting-edge knowledge of communication effectiveness and problem-solving that will help them identify and take advantage of opportunities in today’s digitally disrupted, media-rich society.