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Great story: Connection makes the difference


As a high school junior coach, I highly anticipate my group sessions and one-on-ones with the students in my cohort. Engaging in student recruitment brings its own rewards, but you don’t get to the “meat” of this work until you actually start working with your own cohort. I’ve spent the first months of my service recruiting students to our program, but now I have a cohort to serve. Making my first calls has gotten me excited to work with each of these wonderful students as they navigate their college journeys.

The first three student calls I made were to extremely outgoing, selfless and driven people, who are all passionate about making a difference in their communities. The first student went out of her way to fully introduce herself over the phone, noting the numerous activities she was involved in, such as Junior Class Board and Student Council. She plans to continue leading in her community after receiving a degree in political science or sociology. I could tell she was driven to serve others in her future career, and as someone in a service position myself, I found that admirable.

My second student was helping at a sporting event when I called and used his break to have a long conversation with me about himself, his family and his head start on studying for the ACT. He told me about his brother’s outstanding progress on the ACT while he was in the program and how he was eager to receive more help to raise his own ACT score as well. His demeanor was very warm and friendly, and he wasn’t afraid to joke around with me on the call, despite the fact that I was essentially a stranger to him.

When I called the third student, she was hard at work at her new job, but she moved to a quieter area to converse with me. When I asked her what excited her most about College Possible, she said she was really looking forward to making new connections. She was very open to making room in her schedule for this program, despite spending most of her free time at work and debate events. I distinctly remember her relaying how much she loves meeting and talking to new people and how she is eagerly anticipating the start of this program.

Engaging with these students for the first time reminded me why this job is so important. I’m not just teaching material or researching colleges; I’m leaving an impact on my students that will stick with them beyond their high school and college years. I am fostering a generation of students determined to leave their mark in their future careers. This motivates me to work harder to give my students the mentorship experience they deserve.

This Great Story was written by Leah Beran, an AmeriCorps member at College Possible Omaha.

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