What's up VISTA community? My name is Walker Kelly and I am serving with Alcona Community Schools in Lincoln, MI, which happens to be the high school from which I graduated. I have never held a position like this one before, so the adjustment has been a struggle at times. But, with the help of my supervisor, coworkers, and Maggie, I have really settled into a rhythm recently.
Alcona is a small, class C high school with around 240 students in grades 9-12. We do not receive much funding from the state, so we must use our modest resources in creative and intelligent ways to help students. One of the most successful programs the school offers is a dual enrollment partnership with Alpena Community College (ACC). ACC sends professors to our building so Alcona juniors and seniors can get a head start on pre-requisites while not having to leave the comfort of their own school.
I work with the dual enrollment program to ensure its longevity and improve it in any way possible. This year, we have initiated a community service requirement into the program. Dual enrolled students must complete 10 hours of service per semester. Some students may not have the ability to travel around the county to complete these service hours, so my VISTA Year Initiative (VYI) is creating a program where dual enrolled students tutor their struggling peers. The dual enrolled kids complete their service hours while they're at school and the kids who are struggling get the help they need from a more familiar perspective. This ensures the longevity of the already existing tutoring program and creates a win-win situation for all students.
I want to wish all my fellow VISTAs the utmost success in their endeavors during their service. Being a VISTA can be difficult, but it is a rewarding position that is absolutely worth the hard work.
All the best,
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!