"What if I go over the word limit,” asked Central High School senior Zack Brady.
“We can just rephrase the sentence a couple of different ways,” said Hayley Moe, Future Center advisor.
Brady is working on a scholarship essay with the Future Center advisor.
“I went here because I thought that they could really help me find opportunities to get scholarships and ways to help me with college,” said Brady.
For the past year and a half, these Future Centers have connected with more than 2,000 students to help them set and achieve their post high school goals.
“I tell students whatever it is that they want to do after they graduate high school,” said Moe. “It's just really important that they do something with their life.”
“Not all students are necessarily right for a college degree,” said Jerilyn Dinsmoor, Executive Director for La Crosse Promise. “But this program is supporting any kind of post-secondary education. So it might be a technical college. It might be a certification program. Any type of training that will help enhance their careers.”
La Crosse Promise is working to revitalize the city of La Crosse by fighting trends of poverty and crime and keeping people from moving out of the city. Phase one of the project includes funding Future Centers for La Crosse High School students.
“Promise organizations are about linking economic development to education,” said Dinsmoor. “It's trying to ensure that as many people as possible in our community go on to some type of post-secondary studies. So, part of that involves just preparing our existing students right now for negotiating that next phase of their life.”
“It is a significant economic tool that can make a difference,” said Randy Nelson, La Crosse School District Superintendent.
Nelson serves on the La Crosse Promise committee. He says linking students with resources to help them achieve their post high school graduation goals is important. In the Spring of 2012, 79% of students in the district said they were going to go onto some sort of post-secondary training. In the Fall of 2012, only about 57% showed up in classrooms.
“So one of the things that we're really trying to do with this is to narrow that gap,” said Nelson. “And so when 82 percent say that I'm going to go into some sort of post-secondary enrollment, that we have 82 percent that really go.”
Zack Brady is on track to attend college next Fall. He credits the Future Center, in part, for helping him navigate the many applications and essays needed to continue his education beyond high school.
“Senior year, junior year there's a lot of new information you have to think about with scholarships, colleges,” said Brady. “They really help you process that information and make sure that you have everything straight and you're not missing anything.”
The La Crosse Promise views this service as the tool students need to make post-secondary education a possibility for everyone.