Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Learn to Dream

I had the honor last week of spending some time with a group of a couple hundred seniors from Lincoln's high schools. These students are eligible for a scholarship to attend Southeast Community College. The program, Learn to Dream, offers low-income graduates up to 45 tuition-free credit hours at SECC. It's a terrific way to make great progress towards a associates degree in one of SECC's many programs, or to get a head start on a bachelor's degree, as those credit hours can transfer to the University of Nebraska.

The students spent the morning learning more about what SECC has to offer, visiting the campus and facilities, and meeting with staff. My role was to help inspire these students, many of whom face personal challenges and impediments that can be discouraging. I dealt with plenty of challenges similar to those confronting these students, and I told them my own story about how I made it work, and how important my education was to my success in life--along with a cheesy (but true) story about the prettiest girl at Charles Culler Junior High School.

I am always a little apprehensive about being an old guy with a story of walking up hill to school in both directions. Walter Powell, however, assured me that it was well-received the last time I spoke a couple years ago, and I had a good feeling afterwards on this occasion. I really enjoy high school kids, and I hope that I was able to contribute a little encouragement.


Steve said...

It's nice of you to spend the time to try and inspire these kids to do more with their lives. Let's hope they don't waste the opportunities provided them. I hope you tell them that although a liberal arts degree may make them more well-rounded, it doesn't necessarily make them more employable. Pick a trade, or pick a major in a field that has good employment opportunities down the road.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that you left a positive impression, Tom, even if you feel like you're waaaaaay to old to relate to the students. High school students, for the most part, are pretty sophisticated these days and many understand the importance of a great role model, which you are. Thank you. I love working with HS students, also!