I’m Adam Stock, a first year AmeriCorps VISTA for MNA Civic Engagement. I’m serving at Alcona Community Schools as a College and Career Advisor. The schools are located in Lincoln, MI which is about a half hour south of Alpena.
We’re over three quarters of the way through the school year, but I have yet to slow down. We just wrapped up meeting with our seniors to make sure everyone submitted scholarship applications and had a plan for after graduation whether that’s college, military, or the work force. I’m now working on meeting with all of our juniors to get them ready for their senior year and college applications. Our Michigan College Access Network advisor and I put together a portfolio for each student in their Google Drives that gives them a timeline, brag sheet, and college list. The brag sheet is a document where they can enter all of the activities they’ve been a part of and awards they’ve received. After we’re done with juniors we hope to meet with the rest of the students as well.
I’m really excited about this because it gives staff and students something to reference as the students go through high school. It will also help the students figure out what they may want to do when they graduate. It’s a tool that previously was unavailable. We’re also hoping that this will help motivate those students who are slightly lacking in their academics by giving them a goal to attain. This ties in with how my position will be evolving in the coming years. It will be starting to focus more on academic success since we will have our MCAN advisor to help with college access.
In short, I’m incredibly happy that I made the choice to be an AmeriCorps VISTA and can’t wait to see what these last few months have in store. I hope that everyone else is having the same wonderful experience I am and continues our good work.
All the best,
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!