Hi there! I am serving at Alcona High School, partnering with the Alpena Volunteer Center. My main focus this year is to bring career and college readiness to students at Alcona High School. I have been placed in the high school and am primarily working with upper classman. The high school has not had a high school counselor in years, and therefore the college going mindset has been pretty deteriorated. Last year, 56% of the Alcona graduating seniors went to college. Of those students, 53% attended a local community college. Overall, students have had a very limited and negative view of college in their futures. The community is an agriculture and machine industry-based and many students do not see the need to move their education forward after high school.
So far this year, I’ve started many projects at the school. There are many great organizations within our community that I’ve established partnerships with. At the start of this year, I realized how narrow students’ view was of the opportunities in their community. I collaborated with Michigan Works and local businesses to take students on “Talent Tours” of different successful businesses around the community. We went to a local machine shop, welding institute and news station.
One of my favorite projects is our college acceptance tracking wall. For every college a student applies to, they were invited to sign their name to a paw print and post it above the appropriate college logo. It ended up being a great motivation factor for students because they could watch where their peers were applying to. Also, students were invited to take “selfies” with their acceptance letters and post them on social media, and we also posted them on a wall in the school so staff and community members could see.
This year has been quite an adventure so far. If anything I’ve learned how crazy a school system is and how many hats each staff member wears. As I’m sure many of you experience, there are many different days I experience. Some are exciting and uplifting while others are exhausting and disappointing. Overall, this whole experience has been completely inspiring.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!