The inaugural class of The Youth Career Connect STEM Academy celebrated four years of a partnership with the HOLLA! center before graduating during the district-wide ceremony on Saturday, June 9.
All of the students participated in a mentoring program sponsored by the HOLLA! center in Morven which entailed one-on-one mentoring, field trips and motivational events.
“HOLLA! has been a valuable partner for the Youth Career Connect STEM Academy program at Anson High School, one of only 24 such programs across the country,” said Deborah Davis, director of the program.
Federally grant-funded by the United States Department of Labor’s DTA Division, the AHS YCC program includes best-practice elements recommended by the USDOL for career success, including student industry and career mentoring.
Since AHS is classified as a 100 percent free and reduced lunch school, students are impacted by a rural and economically-deprived community. These factors put all students in the YCC program in the category of “at risk,” making the need for strong adult mentoring even more necessary. HOLLA! provides the mentoring component for Anson High YCC students, and those activities and services are favorites of these high school students. There are at least 80 students per grade level in mentoring each school year.
“The emphasis of the YCC program on exploring potential careers, understanding the expectations of today’s workplaces, and making those important connections with employers has put this future workforce on a very solid foundation. Deborah Davis and Leon Gatewood have done an amazing job helping our students prepare for the future, wherever their paths take them next,” said Scott Collier of South Piedmont Community College.
Since YCC’s inception, Collier has volunteered with the program. Fifty-four of the students earned college certifications and marched in SPCC’s commencement ceremony. More than 150 students are enrolled in college transferable courses.
“The YCC program has been extremely successful on the Anson High School campus,” said Principal Chris Stinson. “We are excited to expand the YCC Pathways from four to 11 academies for the 2018-19 school term. We feel certain that this will positively impact all students in preparing them for college, careers and life.”
The seniors celebrated their final session at the center with food, prizes, fun and live entertainment from performing artist Kendrix Singletary.
HOLLA! is a nonprofit community development corporation operating from 229 East Main Street in Morven. For more information call 704-851-3144. The organization was founded in 2005 to assist with raising achievement levels in the local schools system through its signature Youth Enrichment Program.