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Pathways to College Essay

Path“Less than 17% of African-American and Latino students will finish high school and graduate from college. ” (Landy, 2013) Less than 70% of students in Milwaukee graduate from high school. (Pathways PowerPoint, 2013) Only a little over 25% of the people in Wisconsin hold a four-year college degree. (O’Connell, 2014) This educational disparity leads to economic disparity which affects the entire state, not just the urban areas with a higher achievement gap since most jobs with an annual salary over $30,000 will require a four-year degree.

(Winters, 2014) There is a program called Pathways to College that is working hard to change these shocking statistics. We are here tonight to show you that Pathways to College is a cause worthy of your and your organization’s time, talent, and treasure. The problem is that not enough people know about Pathways to College. We would like to take a few minutes of your time to introduce you to this exceptional program. According to Pathways director Kelly Ramirez, Pathways to College was the vision of past WLC president Tim Kriewall and the program accepted its first students in 2007.

Although located on the WLC campus, Pathways to College is a non-profit organization independent from WLC. With the mission “to create a belief that college is an option for everyone (Pathways pamphlet),” the program assists lower-income college prospects who are “first-generation” students (neither of their parents have graduated from college) and have the potential to succeed in college. In this program, students develop academically, socially, and spiritually for college. The program also assists them in finding the financial resources to attend college.

The ultimate goal is to increase “the number of lower income and minority students pursuing and completing a post high school education. ” (Pathways pamphlet) The Pathways to College program consists of four components. First is Pathways Prospects in which families visit the WLC campus to become familiar with a college environment and prepare for the Pathways program. (Pathways pamphlet) Next is the precollege component, which is the center of the program. Students in grades 6-12 participate in the after school prep center at least once a week and also once a month on Saturday mornings.

They study, receive tutoring and mentoring, attend life skills workshops, and participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and literacy programs. In addition, the program sponsors a summer academy for grades 6-11 which focuses on academics, sports, and fine arts such as art, dance, drama, and music. (Pathways pamphlet) Director Ramirez said that in addition, high school seniors are able to broaden their educational horizons every summer on an international trip. (This year they are going to Puerto Rico!)

Freshman, sophomores, and juniors take a Civil Rights tour in the Southern states, visit colleges in California, and colleges on the East Coast on alternating years. For the first time in the coming 2014-2015 school year, Pathways to College will be privileged to implement the final component, the college program, as the first graduating class of Pathways begins college next fall! Ramirez said the directors of the program will continue to encourage and mentor these college students. They will keep tabs on the students’ grades and attendance.

In addition, financial support, workshops over school breaks, and internship as well as job and career assistance will also be offered. (Pathways PowerPoint, 2013) Finally there is the parental program. Parents also attend workshops throughout the school year. These regular meetings offer help with life skills and support for guiding their child toward college. (Pathways pamphlet) It takes a special student to be accepted into the Pathways program. Ramirez informed us that at present there are 17 Pathways partner schools.

Teachers at these schools identify students that they feel meet the program qualifications of a low-income, first-generation student with a minimum “C” grade average and minimum behavior problems at school. Once accepted into the program, students must sign the Pathways to College Covenant. Here they promise attend at least 80% of the activities offered, exhibit Christ-like behavior at all times, keep up schoolwork and grades, and keep an open communication with their parents and with the Pathways program.

Parents must also sign the covenant and agree to attend at least 80% of the parent programs, support and encourage their son or daughter in his/her academic career, and do everything to promote a loving Christian household. As long as these commitments are maintained, the child is welcomed and encouraged to stay in the program. (Pathways to College Covenant) Besides the above commitments, there is no monetary cost to the parents or the students who are selected for the program. This is not to say that the program itself comes without a price tag, however.

Pathways director Kelly Ramirez said that the annual budget for Pathways is a half million dollars. This budget is totally dependent on grants, private donors, foundation contributions, and fund raisers. She also said that even though the directors have pulled the $500,000 budget together for this year, this just covers the basic program for its 240 students. A larger staff and a more reliable long-range financial picture are needed to lighten present workloads, add a kindergarten-4th grade component, and expand this program to its maximum capacity of 700 students.

We feel this is a great program, which we ourselves promote and support. We don’t want you to just take our word for it, however. We’d like you to hear from families that have already benefited from the Pathways to College program. (YouTube testimonial) (Attention Era, 2013) Better yet, come see for yourself. If you can come early to class some Monday afternoon, stop by and visit with some of the volunteers and students in the program. Drop in and talk with Director Kelly Ramirez or Executive Director Milton Cockroft in their offices in the administration building.

Now you are aware of the Pathways to College program. You have seen for yourself the great work that Pathways to College is doing with these young people. That’s all well and good, but you figure, “Well, this is all far removed from me and my family and my business. I know there’s a sales pitch coming, but it really has nothing to do with me. ” It has everything to do with you, your family, and the community. Successful college graduates of this program will produce dedicated, responsible, skilled workers with whom you will be working and that will be working for the companies that you own or manage.

This can only mean success for you and your business! In addition, these young people won’t need help from the government and other agencies but will have great potential for a productive future. First of all there will be decreased need for WIA funding. (“U. S. Department,” 2014) As young people with STEM training at Pathways, they have excellent prospects for good paying jobs since “47% of Bachelor’s degrees in STEM occupations earn more than PhDs in non-STEM occupations.

” (“The case for,” 2013) Over a lifetime, a college graduate will earn $1,000,000 more than someone who only earned a high school degree. (Pathways PowerPoint, 2013) As you can see from the following chart (Youth Indicators, 2011), it does take education to get out of poverty. Every graduate will be one more person to contribute his/her talents and skills to society. Every graduate will help and encourage the next generation of friends and family to also go to college, which will have a positive ripple effect on the community.

(Some Pathways parents themselves have already been inspired to enroll in college!! ) Best of all, you will know that you had enough love and foresight to take a part in enriching the lives of these deserving young people and the lives of those they touch. Now you are convinced that Pathways is certainly a great program and worthy of your support. However, you are thinking, “Jeepers, I’m going to college. I have a family to support. You’re barking up the wrong tree, ladies. I don’t have any extra money! ” Don’t you? Let’s put Pathway’s half million dollar budget into perspective.

Ramirez says that it costs about $3000 a year for each child that goes through the program. If we in this room would adopt a child and split that amount up among us, and then divide that by the weeks in a year, it would cost each of us no more per week than the price we’d pay for a latte at Starbucks! If you own or manage a business there are other things you can do. Visit your company’s HR department to see what type of donation your company could make. Perhaps you could have your company or PTA make Pathways the beneficiary of its next fund raiser.

There are other things Pathways can use that are just as valuable as money/treasure. Pathways can use your time and talents. If you are great at math or grammar, for example, think about tutoring a struggling student. Maybe you don’t have time to come in to tutor once a week. As a sales manager, you could lead a once-a-year workshop instructing students how to write a resume. As the assistant manager of a bank, you could offer your financial expertise by teaching a workshop on money management. As a cook and cafeteria manager you could give a nutrition workshop.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. You have seen for yourself the great work Pathways is doing for these young people! You know that the program is worthy of support in the form of your time, talents, and treasure. You are aware of Pathways to College. Please spread the word and help us make others aware! References Attention Era. (2013, March 10). Pathways to College-the story [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www. youtube. com/results? search_query=Pathways%20to%20College&sm=12.

The case for STEM education as a national priority: good jobs and American competitiveness. (2013, June). Retrieved from http://www. stemedcoalition. org/wp-content/uploads/2013/ 10/Fact-Sheet-STEM-Education-Good-Jobs-and-AmericanCompetiveness-June-2013. pdf Landy, B. (June 13, 2013). Graph: U. S. college graduation rates are rising, but the rest of the world is catching up [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://tcf. org/blog/detail/graph-u. s. – college-graduation-rates-are-rising-but-the-rest-of-the-world-is O’Connell, M. (2014, February 11).

The role of education in the state of the economy. Paper presented at the Wisconsin ACT Organization 2014 Annual Conference, Middleton, WI. Pathways to College. (n. d. ). [Information pamphlet] Pathways to College. (n. d. ). Pathways to College covenant [Organization contract] Pathways to College. (2013). What path are you on? [PowerPoint] Ramirez, K. (2014, February 19 and March 3). Interview by C. Ristow and R. Flagg.

What are Needs of Pathways to College? U. S. department of labor employment and training administration notice of availability of funds and solicitation for grant applications for Youth Build. (2014, February 18). Retrieved from http://www. doleta. gov/grants/pdf/YouthBuild SGA-DFA-PY-13-04. pdf Winters, D. (2014, February 11).

The brutal facts about the changing labor market and the need for an educated workforce. Paper presented at the Wisconsin ACT Organization 2014 Annual Conference, Middleton, WI. Youth indicators 2011 America’s youth: Transitions to adulthood youth indicators 2011America’s youth. (2011, December 26). Retrieved from http://nces. ed. gov/pubs2012/ 2012026/figures/figure_32a. asp.


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