On a recent survey, High Point Academy middle school students typed responses to this prompt: “Describe what you imagine your life, including your career, will look like at age 25.”
Their responses varied. Reading them, it’s clear that students have big plans. For example:
“I will be out of college and working as a professor for Harvard law school. I will have a family, no children, only a dog and a wife.”
“When I’m 25, I will be the CEO of a major business that takes part in making lives easier to live.”
“At the age of 25 I plan to be a NBA player, or Plan B is to be a NFL player.”
Luckily, HPA now has a school counselor on staff to help students create a plan to meet their goals. Thanks to a three-year grant from the Colorado Department of Education, HPA welcomed middle school counselor Rick Pape to its team this year. Mr. Pape will play an integral role in the school’s efforts to prepare students for high school, college, and career, overseeing activities such as High School Night, College/Career Night, Career Day, and field trips to college campuses. He will also ensure that every student has an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) by the time they graduate 8th grade.
“My hope is to get students passionate about a direction or career or goal, to help them create a dashboard for success,” he said. “I want to increase equity and access to high schools and colleges and expose students to a different way of thinking about their futures.”
From the survey, it’s clear that students already feel positive about the track of their lives – 84% report feeling very hopeful about the future, and 87% said that it’s very important to get an education beyond high school.
“We’re thrilled to have Mr. Pape on board to harness students’ positive energy about the future and help them create pathways to success,” said Mrs. Kelle Bongard, HPA’s middle school assistant principal.
This fall, HPA is inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. The program is called Girls on the Run (GOTR), and 17 third through fifth grade students are on HPA’s team.
Designed to help every girl recognize her inner strength, GOTR encourages positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development. During the team’s twice-a-week practices, the girls participate in interactive lessons on topics like nutrition and self-talk. Running is incorporated throughout the curriculum to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health.
It seems to be working. Third-grade participant Ashley McDonald said that GOTR has taught her about the importance of staying active every day.
“I like it because you get to run around and stay healthy. And after that, you get to drink lots of water,” she said.
Coaches Stacey May, Erica Konieczny, Karin Thompson, and Felicia Rodriguez are enjoying watching the girls benefit from the program.
“The Girls on the Run program really allows girls to share their feelings in a safe and supportive space, and it gives them an opportunity to exercise and learn about others. The girls are covering a variety of topics which get them thinking and learning new ways to stretch and exercise, all while having fun!” said Ms. May.