Local academic program helps students excel

“Schools cannot do it alone. This issue is much bigger than what they can accomplish with the limited money they have.
By Pat Ratliff | Apr 18, 2013
Jan Link, director of Academic Link Outreach is flanked by her students Adam Sbai, Taylor Margallis, Keerit Dhaliwal, Erin Harcourt, Fesehaye Semere and Victoria Tyron. They will be traveling to WSU to tour the campus and have dinner with the college president.

Jan Link is the director of Academic Link Outreach (ALO), a local non-profit that she is confidant is helping students meet and exceed state standards, graduate from high school, and be better prepared for college or the work force.

“Schools cannot do it alone,” Link said. “This issue is much bigger than what they can accomplish with the limited money they have.

“They certainly can make changes but need help from outside.”

Link says the goals are to find out what support students need to excel academically and what systems can be developed to help students, parents, and teachers work as a team for high academic achievement.

“All assistance is as a team member with the student, teacher, and parent,” she said. “It takes place outside the school day.

“Through monitoring and continuous celebrating, higher academic excellence is being achieved.  Students cannot fail!”

Thanks to a grant from College Spark Washington, ALO has followed 48 students through Alderwood Middle School and into high school with a program called “PATH to College Success.”

The students now attend Lynnwood, Meadowdale, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds Woodway and Monroe high schools.

And after 2 ½ years of work, some of the students are getting back something most could only dream about.

On April 19 and 20, six of the students from the PATH program will go on a tour of colleges in eastern Washington.

“Early Friday morning (a non-school day), these students will hop in a van, generously provided by Harrison Ford Lynnwood, and embark on their journey,” Link said.

Many of the students have never been to eastern Washington. They’ll stop in Ellensburg at Central Washington University for a tour, explore the campus, and get to ask questions about campus life.

They’ll then head east for Pullman, where Link says their “first stop is at Ferdinands Ice Cream on the WSU campus.”

Later that evening, the students will have the honor of attending a private dinner with Dr. Elson Floyd, the president of WSU, and his wife, before tours of the WSU campus the next day, before heading home.

This is a sit-down dinner. The culinary arts students at WSU will prepare and serve the meal.

The students are already excited about what they will ask Dr. Floyd.

“I’m going to ask him what he sees as a good student,” Adam Sbai said. “What will catch his eye on a resume.”

Taylor Margallis has different questions.

“Do they offer double majoring? A guarantee of graduating in four years?” he said.

“I want to know what they expect in students at Wazoo,” Keerit Dhaliwal said.

“I want to know what they offer in hospitality degrees,” Erin Harcourt said. “Should I get a business degree also or just the hospitality degree?”

Fesehaye Semere wants to know about aerospace degrees, but also about campus life.

“What are the relationships between teachers and students?” he asked.

Victoria Tyron wants to go into law.

“I want to know the acceptance rates for law majors,” she said.

Those are pretty good questions for ninth graders. They’ve been preparing and are ready to learn more about college life.

And they’ve had a lot of help from Jan Link and ALO as well as a number of community members along the way.

The Kohut & Kohut Law Firm donated the opportunity to have dinner with WSU’s president.

“Besides College Spark Washington providing us with the funds to carry out the total program, QFC donated snacks and refreshments for student and parent meetings, while Fred Meyers donated school and office supplies,” Link said.

“All of the students had access to beautiful backpacks donated by Targus, which definitely helps them keep organized throughout the year.

“This is all part of what makes our efforts work to help motivate students to be the best that they can be.

“Together, we are a team – and a very successful one!”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.