This year, we are learning that seeing the results of changing mindsets sometimes takes longer than we'd hope. We track our impact annually: student attendance, graduation rates, participation in workshops, number of college visits. We see hints of change through more frequent visits to the PLUS Center, additional requests for after-school help, the mental click of a new algebra concept. But we've learned that change doesn't always happen overnight, in one semester, or even one year. Sometimes, it takes time.
Josh was a senior at Kensington Health Sciences Academy when 12+ first started in 2012. His GPA barely exceeded a 2.0, and his attendance struggled. But he began to visit the PLUS Center and build relationships with the team. He loved sports, and he would stay after school to play basketball and soccer with Ray and Albert.
Despite his grades and attendance, 12+ saw potential in his character and invited him to participate in the inaugural PLUS Leader cohort. Josh took the commitment seriously and regularly attended the program. Throughout the year, Josh began to invest more seriously in his education. He explored postsecondary options. He completed his senior project. By June, Josh was excelling in all of his classes -- except one. The day before graduation, we discovered he was missing that one requirement and that he would not graduate with his class.
We were devastated. Questions of doubt filled our minds. Did we actually help him at all? Are we actually making any difference? If Josh of all students, after having invested so much time and energy into his success, after we thought he had made such significant progress, failed to graduate with his class, what were we doing wrong?
Recently, we serendipitously ran into Josh on the subway in Philadelphia. He excitedly briefed Albert on his life. When Josh didn't graduate from high school with his class, he was discouraged and disappointed in himself. However, somehow, our message stuck with him. 12+ placed high expectations on him, and those expectations drove him to go back to school. He earned his high school diploma through an accelerated program the following year. Now, two and a half years later, he is currently working towards a college degree from Pierce College. He has an internship at JP Morgan, and he encourages his peers in their postsecondary pathways.
Sometimes it's difficult to see immediate impact. Change can take time. But Josh reminds us of the potential in each and every student and of the importance of planting seeds for success.
This season, join us in supporting students' long-term journeys.
Happy holidays from the 12+ Team!