I’m Adam Stock, a first year AmeriCorps VISTA for MNA Civic Engagement. My service site is at Alcona Community Schools in Lincoln, MI where I’m serving with Abby Samotis, another VISTA member, and Meaghan Olger, an advisor from Michigan College Access Network. For those who don’t know Lincoln is about a half hour south of Alpena. Before moving, I had never even been to this area of Michigan, so this year of service is going to be quite the adventure.
School just started back up here at Alcona and things have really been put into high gear. Compared to my first couple of weeks of service, this last week was a full on sprint to keep up. As fast as it is, I’m so happy to have the students here – all 360 of them! I’m finally able to see and interact with the people that our programs are impacting. Speaking of programs, our team here at Alcona has been working incredibly hard.
We run a dual enrollment program for students that brings the college classes to the high school. This allows the 11th and 12th grade students the possibility of receiving college credit without having to go to the campus or take the class online. It also allows for much smaller class sizes. Students had to qualify to participate in dual enrollment, meaning they took a compass test at Alpena Community College that shows how well they would perform in a college level class. There are about 60 students taking advantage of this opportunity.
We are also setting up college visits for the students to give them a feel for what a college looks like. This is a key program because many students here have never seen a true college campus. The closest campus is Saginaw Valley State University, which is almost two hours away. College visits are crucial in helping students decide on their postsecondary plans. We are also auditing transcripts to make sure students are on track to graduate and are setting up FAFSA nights during the winter to help students and parents through the process. Needless to say, we’re going to be incredibly busy.
Yet, as wild as these first couple of weeks have been, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. I’m sure there will be some rocky patches, but that is what makes this project worth it for me. I want to overcome those obstacles so others can prosper. I’m sure the rest of us want the same. So good luck on your service and I’m looking forward to seeing you all again.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!