After a busy day in the KHSA PLUS Center, I found myself reflecting on our Senior Wall. The Senior Wall is alphabetically organized with a picture (selfie) of each student graduating in the Class of 2016. The Senior Wall is a visual motivator for our seniors. The students earn badges as they complete various tasks and assignments throughout their senior year. There are about six badges that the students can be awarded. My favorite is the golden “College Accepted” badge. At KHSA we have also added stars to the golden badge for each additional college acceptance. Of all the badges the students can be awarded, I personally believe that this one is the most meaningful.
Back in the beginning of the school year, the seniors drafted their personal statements, narrowed down their top picks for colleges, retook SATs and started college applications. Senior year in itself is a stressful time for any teenager. In many instances there were a few seniors that wished they could clone themselves so that they could handle multiple tasks simultaneously. For many of our seniors, this is the year when serious thought is given to what life looks like after graduating high school.
The students’ postsecondary pathways are not limited to college; students are also pursuing various trades and branches in the military. Every time a new badge or star is added to the senior wall, the entire PLUS Center echoes with excitement in celebration of that student. All of our seniors want the same thing and that is to be successful. Many of them are the first in their families to graduate high school, while others are the first in their family to strive for college education.
Now that we are in the second half of the school year, the students are seeing the rewards of their hard work. More than fifty percent of our senior class has already been accepted to either a two-year or four-year institution. The best part of being a Fellow is instilling hope in our students by empowering them to believe in themselves and their abilities. I am that friendly voice that reminds them to keep pushing forward towards their goals.