Friday, July 31st, was a momentous day as we witnessed the first graduation celebration of Power Scholars. This evidence-based program was developed by Building Educational Leaders for Life (BELL) and focused on turning summer learning loss into summer learning gain. The theme is “Finding the Genius Within”. Throughout this program, we were blessed to work with Boise Schools and a great “all in” team led by a fabulous leader, Amy Pinkerman. Teresa Wood Adams, our Y Child Development Executive Director, was awesome, too. We are excited to be able to share the results of the program with you very soon!
It was a joy to watch these kids grow over the summer surrounded by people who told them every day that they were intelligent and could do anything they set their minds to. And these kids really believed it. They were all scholars and treated as such!
Below are a few pictures, including one of the wonderful families who had five kids in the program. I got to know the twins, Shinika and Tina, during the first week. Their older sister was born in Uganda, but they are not sure which African country they were born in, as their family was moving so fast to get away from war torn places and never in one location for very long. In that first week, we had a nice visit. I liked them right away, especially when they said, “you look young”. It was probably something someone once told them was guaranteed to make old people like me feel good and smile. They were doing multiplication tables and working on 9’s, so we did 9×7, and when they answered “63,” their eyes grew big as I told them that was my age. I might have been the oldest person they had ever met. I gave them passes to the Y, and you would have thought that I gave them passes and plane tickets to Disney World.
During that first week, we talked about college, but they did not think they would ever go. Just a few days ago at the graduation celebration, I had to ask again about college. I said, “Now, you are going to college, right?” They said, “No, we are going to 5th Grade”. Their older sister chimed in and said, “Yes, we are going to college,” giving her sisters a stern look. Younger brother said, “What about me? Am I going to college?”. He dad, without pause, said, “Yes, you are”, which brought a big smile to his son’s face.
Families like Shinika’s and Tina’s are what Power Scholars is all about . . . creating new and high expectations and opening doors to new and exciting futures.