Students spend much of their time in high school preparing to face academic challenges such as state testing, SATs and day-to-day school work. Not a lot of time is left to teach students valuable life skills or to prepare them for life after high school. Dover High School is seeking to give students a leg up by hosting its second consecutive Passport to Success day.
The idea for Passport to Success came to PTO President Jerry Houston out of a need that Houston spotted in the school, he said.
“I come and volunteer in the high school and I’ve seen a lack, just by intermingling with the students,” he said. “We asked [recent graduates] what was missing from their studies and they said they weren’t prepared because they didn’t have all of the information they needed as far as signing up for financial aid or the military. They didn’t have a host of stuff they needed.”
Houston decided the solution to this problem was to set aside a day to teach students life skills, as well as the tools they need to be ready for college and careers.
Rather than following their usual class schedules this Friday, Dover High School students will be broken into teams, begin their morning with a pep rally and then spend the rest of their day taking workshops, listening to lectures and gathering information on everything from college and the military to how to dress for a job interview.
Some of the workshops planned for Friday include “College Essay Writing,” “Start Investing” and “My Best Interview Yet.” The day will also include activities designed to help students choose a career path. Presenters from an array of industries have been chosen to speak to students about pursuing careers in areas such as law or trade professions. A special emphasis will be placed on careers in the field of science, technology, engineering and math. Evelyn Edney, a Dover High Schools principal, is excited about getting students interested in careers early.
“Students need to be exposed to careers at a young age when they’re impressionable and when they’re making decisions about who they’re going to be and what things may interest them,” she said. “The other part is talking to them about the skills that they will need to be successful.”
All of Delaware’s colleges, several trade schools, volunteer organizations and financial aid agencies will all be on site to inform students about how to prepare for college. Several branches of the military will also be represented. Aside from learning how to choose and pay for a college, students will also be taught how to excel once they’re there, Houston said.
Page 2 of 2 - “The basic curriculum doesn’t cover life skills and certain things that will really enhance students when they get out of school, such as test-taking skills, listening skills and time management skills,” Houston said. “The students really need to learn all of those skills. We thought that Passport will boost school spirit, increase student success by focusing on expectations and drive them to leadership and academic excellence.”
Several of the day’s workshops are designed to inspire students to achieve their dreams. Students can be taught how to be a leader, how to overcome obstacles and how to pick themselves up and move on when they fall. One of the key ideas behind Passport to Success is to teach students what they can be, Houston said.
“We’re just looking to make leaders,” Houston said. “We have them, we just have to turn the light on.”