NORTH DENVER — On October 18 North High School welcomed Mayor Michael Hancock and City Year Denver’s Vice President & Executive Director, Morris Price to the podium for a prestigious $ 250,000 award grant from AT&T to help support student success at North and Manual High Schools.
Due to City Year Denver’s success supporting and motivating underserved students to stay in school and prepare for their next step in life, it has been selected as one of 18 recipients nationwide that will share in $ 10 million from AT&T through the Aspire Connect to Success Competition. Hundreds of organizations applied to the competition that is part of AT&T Aspire. It is the powerhouse communication brand’s philanthropic initiative to help students succeed in school and beyond.
Funding recipients deliver integrated student supports, focus on college or career preparation, and provide mentoring or peer-to-peer supports to help underserved students graduate. This funding will support 9-12 grade students in two high-poverty high schools in Denver, North and Manual. The most at-risk students will receive individualized, case-managed services through City Year’s Whole School Whole Child program model, assisting them to graduate high school on time and be prepared for success in college and the workforce.
During the 2016-2017 school year, 72 City Year Denver AmeriCorps members will serve full time alongside teachers in nine Denver Public Schools. The Corp members provide high impact student, classroom and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success.
Hancock reflected through his lens of history, “DPS holds a special place in my heart. Coming here today makes me miss high school. Man, I miss that…I remember those days. They were the greatest days of our lives. But, for some, it is the end of the line. They don’t get a chance to cross the finish line. While graduation rates continue to rise in Denver, we have more work to do to prepare our students for college and beyond. “We need to make sure they are on track by 10th grade to ensure success in their educational journey.” One way to help is by “connecting them with healthy, productive adult relationships as they matriculate throughout high school.” With City Year’s presence, he said they have helped lift students on their shoulders.
Mayor Hancock enthused, “I want to thank AT&T for the generous gift of $ 250,000 at North High School and Manual. With the support of efforts like AT&T Aspire, we can continue to nurture programs like City Year Denver and the one-on-one attention they provide while utilizing innovative solutions to providing after-school and in-class support for our students.”
During City Year’s five-year partnership in Denver, the graduation rate at North High School went from 47% to more than 75%. The rates continue to climb, and programs like these are an embedded part of the school’s continuing rise.
Principal Scott Wolf believes that City Year is part of the reason. “I started teaching 13 years ago in San Jose, California. I had a City Year Corp member in my classroom. They provided huge support. It is now my 4th year at North High School and I’ve had the privilege to continue partnering with City Year. In fact, my whole education experience has been with City Year as a partner. Without them, we wouldn’t have the same level of successes we are enjoying today. I’m excited about the leadership Morris Price provides in Denver and so thankful for all of his support.”
Price, with his warm smile and enthusiasm, a trait that is shared with his City Year team, is solidly rooted in planting the seeds for success for today and all future generations. He said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.” He thanked Hancock for his “leadership and vision that has welcomed City Corp members to the hallways, classrooms and playgrounds of schools throughout Denver.” He also said, “City Year Denver is grateful to AT&T for their generous investment in our program. We greatly appreciate their efforts to connect underserved high school students with success through their Aspire Connect to Success competition and other initiatives.”
One City Corp member, McKenna spoke for the team, “ I am lucky to serve in a 9th-grade English classroom. We attend 5-6 classes per day and are an extra tool for the teachers, as well as greeting students in the morning, and providing homework help before and after school. The classrooms are packed, the halls are noisy and homework is crumbled into backpacks, but we work to bring students the potential that they deserve. I am one of 72 members who are catalyzing change and empowering our young people to be their very best.”
Hancock agreed. “I have been here on opening day at North. City Year members enthusiastically welcomed students coming through the door. We must continue to increase the positive contact and form solid, healthy relationships with adults who are willing to give of themselves for a year. You will touch a young person you may not know. That’s the power. You may be advancing the next Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, the next Mayor, the next CEO, the next lead engineer, because you infused a moment of hope in these students!”
Roberta Robinette, President, AT&T Colorado presented the check to the team with great enthusiasm. “We are very thrilled to be here today. In 2008 AT&T launched its signature initiative philanthropic program. Our goal is to drive innovation in education. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $ 250 million mark on our plan to invest $ 350 Million in education from 2008-2017.”
With that impressive statistic for education partnership, she invited the Mayor, Mr. Price and the City Year AmeriCorps team to come up and enjoy the fruits of their labor, and ongoing support for the students of North and Manual High School. A+ goes to AT&T.
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