My greatest moments as a teacher (in my previous life) and now as a member of the College Summit Team have been those times when a kid has one of those “Ah-ha!” moments. You know the times, when suddenly something clicks for them, when they have absorbed all the information you have given them, and all of a sudden it makes sense. Those are the moments that we live for as educators. Sometimes it’s something tiny, like when the light bulb goes on as they realize they know the correct answer to an exam question, and sometimes it’s a bigger moment, like when they read a book they enjoy for the first time, or realize they’re capable of something they never thought possible.
I love how College Summit gives me so many opportunities to empower youth in this way. We regularly take kids out of the traditional classroom setting and present them with problems to solve, tasks to complete, and events that are meant to push them out of their comfort zones and into something spectacular.
This was particularly true this month at our annual College Summit reception. We brought twenty of our inspiring Peer Leaders with us to the J.W. Marriott in Cheery Creek and encouraged them to mingle, network and hang out with 200 of our community’s leaders. I cannot begin to explain how cool that was. It was a black tie affair, complete with passed hors d’oeuvres and sparkling champagne.
Our kids were totally amazing. They were able to not only hold up their end of a conversation with congressmen and company presidents, but they were able to explain their goals and aspirations, advocate for themselves regarding future internship possibilities, and really impress people with their maturity and their perseverance.
Several of our youth took to the podium in front of an entire room of people and shared the biggest obstacles that they have overcome on their path to college and academic success. Not only did this demonstrate incredible courage, but also truly allowed our kids to shine as they “Owned their Greatness”.
In addition to being amazing representatives of College Summit, our youth were also really enjoying themselves. The food was phenomenal and the kids were so impressed by the overall ambiance of the evening. They got to meet the mayor, shake hands with administrators of the colleges they plan on attending, and some of them even tried shrimp for the very first time. They walked confidently around the ballroom holding glasses of sparkling water, making eye contact and shaking hands.
I couldn’t be prouder of them and I am really excited to get to share in their journey. I can’t wait to see what remarkable things will happen next for these kids.
At the end of the night when one of my students walked up to me to thank me for a fantastic evening, she also left me with something that I’m still thinking about weeks later.
“Molly? Thanks for inviting me, this was incredible. I had no idea that so many important people cared about us.”
Well CiCi, they do. We do. I do—and I hope that one day she remembers that moment and finds a way to share her experience and talents with other kids.