Hello from Alcona High School in Northern Michigan right along lake Huron! I am working with Alcona High School to build a college and career going culture.
It is a crazy spring around here in farm country. Seniors are done with their last year of high school and they are making their way into the real world. For those of you who serve in a school, you know how crazy the end of the year can be. Students, teachers, staff and parents all get a little CRAZY and I feel like everyone is sprinting towards the end. Even through the craziness at this time, I am able to reflect back on all of the wonderful things I got to take part in this year. As the Seniors leave, I realize how far they have came from the beginning of the year. So many of them did not think leaving home was an option after graduation. Now, as I look at my senior list I realize that so many students are embarking on journeys they never thought could be a possibility. Whether it be traveling out west to pursue a career as a Diesel Mechanic, attending Michigan State University to start working towards their Veterinary Degree, or embarking on service journeys of their own, these students are pushing boundaries they did not envision a few short months ago. When I realize that the hard work and countless hours I spent working with these students may have been enough to leave the slightest impact on their lives I feel so humbled and blessed. I am also inspired to continue next year and work with an entire new group of students. I hope all of you realize the impact you have had on others throughout your year of service! You are all awesome people and I am blessed to work with such an inspirational group of people.
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!