Adopt A Class / Shroder High School Scholarship & Apprenticeship Cohort Program

Adopt A Class / Shroder High School Scholarship & Apprenticeship Cohort Program

Over the course of the 2023-2024 school year, Shroder High School teamed up with Adopt A Class for a new Scholarship and Apprenticeship Cohort program that aimed to transform the lives of 7th grade Shroder students through mentorship. Spearheaded by Candace James (Shroder, 7th Grade Educator), and in collaboration with Sarah Wallis (Adopt A Class, Director of Programs) and Courtney Burgtorf (Adopt A Class, Program Manager), this initiative brought together the business community and the classroom in new ways, fostering an environment where students could thrive through positive engagement and role models.

“The goal of this program,” said James, “was to prepare a new generation of students with diversified skills to meet the demands of today’s workforce. It opened interests and possibilities in trade and career opportunities for our students. Therefore, they have something to look forward to when they graduate from high school as employees in the job market.”

Typically, the Adopt A Class model has mentors visiting their classroom for one hour, once a month. This new program expanded upon that model by introducing multiple visits per month by several mentor teams, plus additional experiences that brought students to locations other than their classrooms. Through mentorship, field trip experiences, and financial literacy lessons provided by Adopt A Class partners including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, SSRG, University of Cincinnati, Enzweiler Building Institute, and Gateway Community & Technical College, students in the Cohort gained an understanding of post graduate pathways. Throughout the school year, students maintained good grades, exhibited leadership skills, and developed knowledge and appreciation about living a purpose driven life.

Adopt A Class Program Manager, Courtney Burgtorf, reflected on the pilot cohort program, saying, “It was an absolute pleasure working alongside Ms. James, our mentors, and these students this school year. Seeing their confidence in themselves build throughout the year through mentored classroom visits and field trip experiences was rewarding. This group of students are dedicated, hardworking, tenacious, and inspiring. From dreams of becoming an engineer, to a fashion designer, to a mechanic, to an actor, to a teacher, these students are going places!”

The culmination of the program was a graduation ceremony that took place at the Adopt A Class home base inside UC’s Digital Futures building. A special thank you to: Candace James, Dr. Kareem Moffett (Cincinnati Public Schools), Jonnie Byrd (Merrill Lynch), Dr. Kimya Moyo, Melissa Hamilton-James, Dr. Crystal Kendrick (The Voice of Your Customer / The Voice of Black Cincinnati), Dr. Daleah Goodwin (Xavier University), Miaesha Campbell, (Medpace), LaRonda Thomas (Cincinnati Public Schools), Dr. Shantel Thomas (Center for Healing the Hurt), and Meeka Owens M.Ed.(City of Cincinnati).

Under the guidance of Ms. James, Adopt A Class plans to continue this initiative in the 2024-2025 school year, in the hopes of growing the program and impacting more students. Adopt A Class Director of Programs, Sarah Wallis, says, “Courtney (Burgtorf) and Ms. James worked together to create a robust student experience over the past year.  The focus was to contribute to student retention and help students understand leadership and post-high school options. Data from the pilot is being collected and will be used to help us build for next year. It is my hope that the pilot will grow and continue to impact other students.”

We look forward to growing this program and continuing to discover new ways to introduce post-high school pathways to students. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders – and we can’t wait to see where their paths take them!

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