Summer Summit Enjoys A Fantastic Week at
University of St. Thomas Minneapolis
Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) along with University of St.
Thomas Minneapolis Campus (UST) hosted the 6th Annual 2016 Step-Up
Mentorship Summer Summit. Over 75 young
men from the NWSISD consortium districts spent a week at the Minneapolis Campus
of UST June 20 – 24, 2016. This intense
educational experience helps prepare just graduated 8th graders for
high school by focusing on four key educational concepts: Aspirations, Expectations, Opportunities, and
Achievement. These young men heard from
leaders of the community as well as peer leaders who spoke of their experiences
in life, high school, sports, college, and business.
begins with a keynote speaker that stresses the importance of education as a
way of maintaining control over one’s future. “Without goals, you don’t know
where you are going,” stated Mr. Sam Payne, Student Achievement Advisor from
Jackson Middle School in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. Payne brought his story to life when he
passed out paper and pencil and asked the young men to write out three long
term goals and three short term goals explaining that the short term goals is how
you will accomplish your long term goals.
He made it real when he told the young men to be real about who their
friends are. “If your friends are class
clowns, you will be a class clown. These “friends” will keep you away from your
Middle School principal, Matthew Boucher, spoke to the students about
opportunities. Boucher regaled his life
story, graduating high school with a 1.9 GPA and trying to figure out
how to get into college – any college.
He’d been down the road that many students are currently facing and
wanted them to seriously think about their high school career and beyond. “Set yourself up for opportunity. You have to begin to see the adults in your
life as your greatest resource, your greatest ally,” stated Boucher. He went on to say that an at-risk student is
a student that “fails to make a connection with an adult at school” and
encouraged the students to surround themselves with positive friends and
spend the morning participating in classroom activities focused on
introspection, learning how culture shapes expectations, setting goals for
their high school careers and creating plans that will assist them in
accomplishing those goals. Besides
classroom activities, students took part in an art scavenger hunt in downtown
Minneapolis, joined in outdoor sports activities at Loring Park, spent a day at
Camp Eden Wood being challenged on high ropes and team building activities, and
ended the week with their own presentations. Step-Up students receive
additional guidance throughout the year and are involved in mentorship
activities during their high school careers.