Next Generation Pathway to Completion

  • Nearly 40 percent of current High School District 214 students – more than one in three – are first-generation college students, meaning their parents do not hold a college degree. Many of these students are low income, facing significant financial challenges. 

    We have a moral obligation to introduce these students to college, immerse them early-on in postsecondary planning, demonstrate that college success is attainable, and engage their parents as well, so they hear the message together. 

    In 2016, the District 214 Education Foundation began funding college visits for first-generation students and their parents. This has been a game-changer, in a time when one in four students live in poverty. Anecdotally, college counselors noted students who attended these trips applied to multiple four-year universities, more frequently than their peers. 

    These students represent the next generation of successful graduates who will pave the way for generations afterward.

    The second cohort of the Foundation’s Next Generation Pathway to Completion program is set to be announced later this fall, with the induction of a dozen more juniors representing every comprehensive high school in District 214. The program focuses on preparing first-generation students –-- those who will become the first in their families to attend college –-- for college, and ensures that parents or guardians are part of the conversation, so that the preparation and training are handled for the entire family in advance.

    Students start the program as juniors; as seniors, they’re introduced to mentors who will stick with them and their families through two to four years of postsecondary education. The first cohort of students was inducted last year, signing a letter of commitment. Many shared their stories publicly; one said he felt like a superhero. 

    The program relies on community support to help fund programming –-- which includes college visits and speakers –-- and scholarships and laptops for the students upon graduation to ensure and continued success in college. 

    If you would like to learn how you can support the students in the Next Generation Pathway to Completion Program, please contact Erin Holmes at erin.holmes@d214.org.