SPS Students Create New Program To Help Fellow Students Better Prepare For Future
Beginning last summer, Saugatuck High School students junior Kierstyn Stoin and senior Jessica Marsan began a project that included working with students from other schools in the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. In partnership with Grand Valley State University through IChallengeU, these two students were challenged as to how they could change schools in order to better prepare students for their future.
The workshops created by the students turned into the Prep4Success program. Saugatuck High School Principal and Superintendent Dr. Travis described the program as being “a prototype for connecting students, higher education and the business community.”
This program serves to teach high school students practical skills used in everyday life.
Stoin describes Prep4Success “a program created to help students prepare for after high school. The program has several different workshops which each teach the students a skill they may need later in life.
We understand that post high school doesn’t look the same for everyone, and that’s why the program incorporates workshops for those who are looking at college as an option, and for those that are not.”
Some of these workshops would include getting the most out of your money while grocery shopping, simple car fixes, and the ins and outs of financial aid.
Through focusing on skills not typically developed in a high school setting, the local teacher leading the project, Brian Ward, stated, “[Students participating] would have learned a variety of skills that have more real world relevance and that potential future employers will find valuable.”
This year, a pilot program was run with local freshmen from Saugatuck and Hamilton.
This involved them attending two workshops at Grand Valley State University Meijer Campus which helped students build skills in electronic and face-to-face communication.
The final goal of Prep4Success involves each high school grade attending two workshops per year to develop skills valuable to employers. Stoin states, “Although it was not easy, we worked through the kinks, and eventually got a pilot program started.
The results of the pilot program were described by Stoin: “The students spent about an hour in each workshop before they switched to the other.
We had a lot of business professionals from many different careers come in and help the students with their communication. Afterwards we got feedback from the freshmen, and a lot of them found it helpful and said they wouldn’t exactly change anything about it given the chance.”
She then added, “Hopefully in the future we’ll see the program in many more schools.”