Sophomore Summit Inspires Student Success
About 16 Schenevus Central School sophomores were among the more than 400 students who participated in a “Sophomore Summit” at SUNY Cobleskill on March 21.
The summit, presented by College For Every Student (CFES) and supported by The Clark Foundation, is in its sixth year bringing together 10th-graders with representatives of regional colleges and employers to talk about student pathways after graduation.
“We need to get kids thinking about college and careers earlier than their senior year,” explained Dennis Fahey, program director for the Leatherstocking chapter of CFES. “What does this career require? What is this college program going to be looking for? These are the questions we want them to be asking when they’re picking out classes for their junior year.”
Students started the day in Bouck Hall, where they were greeted by SUNY Cobleskill president Dr. Marion Terenzio, who exhorted students to embrace discomfort and take on challenges.
“It’s tough to be you, but you’ve got to take those challenges before you, and turn them into opportunities,” Terenzio said.
Terenzio asked students to define success, calling on Schenevus student Aydin Schallert, who said success is “doing good things.”
After a welcome, students from the 13 participating school districts were sent into small group discussions to meet with representatives from colleges, the military and various employment sectors, such as health care, engineering and education.
Based on conversations with their school guidance counselors, students were sorted into groups based on their specific interests in post-secondary education or employment.
“It’s all personalized,” Schenevus Central School Director of Guidance Kristen Shearer explained. “If you’re interested in learning about two-year degree programs and the military, that’s what you’re going to hear about. If you want to know how to transfer from a community college to a four-year program, you’re going to go there. It’s very individualized.”
Take Time To Find Your Path
While one of the event’s goals was to encourage students to focus on next steps, speakers also reminded students that their goals and plans can change as they move through college or training programs.
“You may be interested in education, which is great, but you don’t necessarily have to know exactly what you want to teach right away,” Schenevus Central School superintendent Thomas Jennings said. “That’s part of what you’ll discover as you get more experience.”
In a session focused on health care careers, Schenevus Central School District occupational therapist Penny Cypress told students that “experience is golden” when it comes to learning about the career paths that are available.
“You can work in a lot of different environments — not just a hospital or a clinical setting,” Cypress pointed out. “There are so many options, and it changes all the time, so the more you can take advantage of opportunities to do a job shadowing experience, the more you can see what those options look like.”
Shearer said the students she brought to the Sophomore Summit came away with a lot to think about.
“It’s really a great day,” Shearer said, adding that the district values the support and involvement of the Clark Foundation in supporting the local CFES chapter. “Knowledge is power, and this was a truly powerful event.”