Wednesday, May 14, 2014

End of 2013-14 Academic Year

Wow! The inaugural year of the SAU Tech Honors Program is over.  Yes, the students felt like guinea pigs at times as we experimented and tried new things since they were the first group.  Some lessons were learned on the part of the staff, and more importantly, some lessons were learned by the students this year.  On one of the last days of final exams, a group gathered in my office.  I was so encouraged to hear them sharing what they have learned (although some of the lessons were learned the hard way) and to hear their plans for the future. They truly are an amazing group of talented young people!

Academically, we had several successes with strong GPA's at the end of the first year.  A few are taking summer classes to redeem themselves.  After those summer classes, I expect to see significant improvements. I have witnessed such personal growth this year.  One student found himself in a life threatening situation in a car accident with some other students.  Rather than continuing to follow a path that was leading to problems, he used that experience to refocus and as a "wake-up call."  A student gave birth during the spring, and another is raising her son.  They have learned to balance family, work, and academics. Friendships were formed, and relationships changed. Deep personal struggles were revealed.  And through it all, these students grew and matured in ways that amaze me.

The Honors students are very involved in plans for this next year.  That larger lounge/study room that we dreamed for almost a year ago will come to fruition this summer.  The students have helped select items to make it a comfortable, functional space, and we will work to have it ready for the fall.  They have made suggestions for the beginning of the year kick-off party to help bond with the incoming freshmen.  The students have also brainstormed ways to mentor the incoming freshmen.  During SOAR (Student Orientation And Registration), Honors students will be present to visit with potential Honors Program students.  Fundraising efforts continue, and I look forward to more creative minds coming together to plan ways to maintain this program and it's activities.  Funding for higher education is being cut this year, so it is more important than ever for us to raise funds to support our activities and enhance the learning experiences.

This first year was not without struggles.  But, it was also filled with successes and growth.  I never dreamed on day one of Honors Seminar that this group of students would change my life the way they have, but they will continue to change lives in the future!

No comments:

Post a Comment