This summer, 12+ welcomed six new talented individuals to the team through the 2014-2015 Fellows Initiative. These Fellows are commissioned to implement workshops, to provide academic assistance, and to serve our students in the PLUS Centers of our partner schools, Kensington Health Sciences Academy and Penn Treaty School. Here, we document their stories.
Julia is our resident Penn State expert, world traveler (she's been to twelve countries!) and pizza lover, coming to 12+ after graduating with a degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services and working in Penn State Admissions and Campus Visits. Julia reflects on several months at Penn Treaty School with 13 reasons she loves being a 12+ Fellow.
Being a Fellow for 12+ has been the most humbling and meaningful experience I could have ever imagined. This Fellowship has given me the opportunity to see what it is like to work with an underserved community where our most important task is to inspire and motivate our students to acknowledge and accept their highest potential. There is no greater feeling than seeing one of my students truly recognize their greatness and understand their self-worth. I love coming to work every single morning, and I could not imagine a more perfect position for me. Below I have listed some reasons why I love coming to work every day.
6. Everyone loves birthday celebrations and at 12+ we do it right! Nothing like some Brown Betty cupcakes and arcade games to celebrate another year with some wonderful company.
7. Here is the fabulous Senior class!! They continue to surprise and impress me every day with their hard work and dedication. To the left is one of our seniors Amsell who recently won a scholarship to IUP for his academic achievements. Students like Amsell are why we continue to work and fight for educational equity in our schools.
8. The RAISE program was developed to help freshmen transition into high school as well as provide them with the tools to ensure their success throughout their time at Penn Treaty and beyond. We had a photoshoot during the first few weeks of school to get the students excited about the program and 12+. As you can see, I cannot resist a photoshoot myself.
9. Here are a few of our marvelous PLUS Leaders, some of the most exceptional, resilient individuals I have ever met. Our PLUS leaders went through a recommendation, application and interview process to be chosen to represent their student body as leaders in the school.
10. Like I said earlier, at 12+ we know how to have fun! Here are some photos from the Second Annual Charity Gala and Auction where we celebrated our successes so far, our hopes for a bright future and of course, our students. Here I am with two of our current seniors Ashley and Brittany and recent Penn Treaty graduate Abraham. Ashley had the opportunity to speak and tell her story, giving a face to our cause here at 12+. It was a night full of love, hope and community that I will never forget.
11. Here is a snapshot of Penn Treaty’s College Week mural. I was tasked with creating the mural but had an immense amount of help from my students who created the schools and the individual people. We visited all of the lunches, including the middle school’s and had all of the students create their own person and put it up on the mural. This is the finished project and if I may say so myself, I think it looks pretty incredible!
12. Here are some adorable sixth graders participating in the College Week photoshoot. Even though we do not work with the middle schoolers all the time it is always a treat getting to spend time with them. We are hoping to expand our services to the middle school beginning in the new year and I am looking forward to working with the amazing middle school teaching staff and the silly, wild, and entertaining students.
13. Even though there are a million more reasons I could list of why I truly love being a 12+ Fellow, the most important reason is because I truly love my students. They are the reason I am smiling when I wake up at 6:00AM every day, they are the reason I am excited to get to school every morning and they are the laughter, love, and life that fill my days. I am a better person by knowing each and every single one of my students; their stories and life experiences are my motivation and the reason I am doing what I am doing.