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"Supporting the 'BIG' Decision" By Megan Brown

What is your dream job? Where would you like to go to college? Where do you see yourself?

These are difficult questions for many students to answer. As many students are juggling school, sports, activities, jobs, and the other stresses, they are also tasked with planning for the future and making some big decisions. 

The AmeriCorps team at Palo Verde decorated the board in our office to give students a visual representation of post-secondary pathways.

The AmeriCorps team at Palo Verde decorated the board in our office to give students a visual representation of post-secondary pathways.

In serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA Community School Coordinator within the Tucson Community Schools Initiative at Palo Verde Magnet High School. My role is to establish partnerships and develop systems that provide resources or enhance existing ones which will help students to succeed in high school, graduate, and be connected to post-secondary opportunities. Over the last 7 months of service, my experiences have been profoundly focused on the latter, supporting students in their college and career attainment. During the fall semester, I built a program, the Career Café, which invited community members to our school during lunchtime giving students an opportunity to learn about careers and education opportunities from professionals in their respective fields. I also worked alongside school staff to provide opportunities for our students to enhance their high school experience through campus service days and trips to visit college campuses. Since the beginning of this year, our school has partnered with the United Way to implement a series of bi-weekly Resource Nights which offered a free tax preparation service, assistance in filling out the FAFSA, and SNAP/AHCCCS enrollment. These resources nights have been of great service in helping to ensure that our students can and do complete all required parts of the FAFSA. Most recently, I have been coordinating ways to ensure all senior students have been met with to discuss their goals for after graduation, and that they are connected with the right person who can guide them in achieving these goals.

As the school year has begun winding down, it is exciting to hear more and more students share that they have been accepted to college, that they have been awarded scholarships, and what career they plan on pursuing. I am inspired by the hard work our seniors have committed to exploring answers to those “difficult questions and making those “big” decisions, and I look forward to continuing to establish partnerships and work with school staff to provide students with the resources that support this!

…And to celebrate our seniors in making the decision of where they will be attending college next year, Palo Verde High Magnet School has partnered with Arizona universities to host a College Signing Day as part of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative on Tuesday, April 26th from 11:30am-1:30pm. If you are free, and would like to share in the excitement of this day, email Megan at mbrown@arizonaserve.org. Do not forget to wear your favorite college’s spirit wear!

Published on April 15, 2016 by Spencer Brown.

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