Jean Lori Gennarose

Pavement

Vicky Millie Alfonso

The Opportunities Are Endless

I recently started working at INCLUDEnyc, and last week I attended my first High School Match workshop at South Bronx Academy for Applied Media. We met with about twenty 7th graders to discuss their high school options.

We started by reviewing what criteria they need to consider before choosing a high school to apply to, such as graduation rate, location, and extra curricular activities.

We handed out packets with information on some of the schools in the area that would be good options for the students, and they asked them to rank the schools from favorite to least favorite.

I sat down with two girls, who told me they didn’t like any of the schools. After a little digging, I learned one student was interested in technology, the other track and field. We flipped through the packet together and looked for those activities.

As we did this, they started noticing the other activities offered and got very excited about all of the possibilities. Biology! Newspaper! Fashion! By the end of our session, one of the girls had a three-way tie for their number one high school choice.

I always enjoy speaking with kids about their futures, because as I see it, the opportunities are endless. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan, I taught an English class to 16 years olds preparing to take their Tawjihi exams. The Tawjihi exams are similar to our SATs, but have a much larger impact on a student’s future. 

After a particularly rough class, I tried to help the girls unwind by looking past the exams and thinking about life after high school. As they discussed colleges and career options, the energy in the room changed. I felt that same energy today when helping the girls plan for their futures. It’s very moving watching kids get excited about their education and I can’t wait to attend another High School Match meeting. 

- Carly Wolff