By: Whitney Hughes
I think it’s fair to say that school has its way of draining students. Since March I have been anxiously anticipating the end of the academic year or, more importantly, the beginning of summer break.
Like most students, my summer is going to consist of a healthy amount of relaxation. No, I don’t mean I’m going to stay in bed all day binge watching movies on my Firestick. In fact, I plan on maximizing my summer in a way that I won’t dread the start of the next school year.
Going into my senior year makes this summer perhaps the most important one of my high school career. There are college tours I need to take, scholarships to start applying for, college essays to look at, classes and summer programs to be in. All of which could be intimidating and even stressful. Which is why I came up with the following game plan for my summer:
#1. Take a College Road Trip
It’s always a good idea to visit any college before you decide on attending that school. But, taking random days to visit a bunch of colleges or doing all the tours in say, two days, is just tiring. Therefore, I have scheduled a whole week so that I can experience the environment of the cities I’ll be visiting. A college road trip is just one of the productive vacations I’ll be taking this summer.
#2. Scholarship Days
There are always scholarships to find and apply for. But, spending my time applying for scholarship after scholarship can be draining. Instead, one day a week I will be applying for two scholarships. One essay scholarship and one “easy” application.
#3. Visit Friends and Family
Summer break is for relaxing and having fun! It’s important that I remember to take some time to enjoy my summer. Whether that’s going to the mall with my friends, catching a movie or visiting cousins… There’s plenty of time in the summer to have some typical teenage fun.
#4. Take Interesting Classes
For me, summer classes are mainly to help me stay in the learning mode for the next school year. So, I’ll be taking a few classes at the University of Toledo but, they are classes that I’ll be able to enjoy. A music class, Astronomy… Topics that I’m actually interested in. Through College Credit Plus, I’ll be getting all these college credits for free.
#5. Make some Money
I don’t have a lot of time for a real job. So, I like to do things here and there to make some money. Braiding hair, babysitting, freelance writing… Money is nice to have but it isn’t my top priority. I definitely don’t plan on spending my entire summer at work.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the most of your summer. Remember to have some fun but don’t forget to be productive. Once I start my career, I know there won’t be any more summer breaks and I need to be prepared for that, while appreciating the few breaks I have left.
Twenty-four scholarship recipients in the class of 2018 were recognized during the annual TPS Celebration of Excellence on April 18. The students were selected based on an in-depth scholarship application. There were various scholarships awarded to students, with each recipient matching up to the scholarship’s intent.
Erica Halada, Executive Director of the TPS Foundation, greeted attendees of the Celebration of Excellence with an introduction that spoke to the importance that the TPS Foundation places on the wellbeing of students. There were 76 applications submitted for the 2018 scholarships, “but students are not just numbers,” Mrs. Halada said. “You are not a number. You each have a story. It is in each of your stories that our donors invest in.”
Hearing excerpts from the students’ essays shows how much wisdom they have at such a young age.
“Hard work is not only greatly appreciated, but greatly rewarded as well—whether it be a smile on someone’s face, a promotion, or simply the self-satisfaction of knowing you did the job well. Striving for greatness does not always have to be to gain material value, rather building character and not letting yourself down can be the greatest reward.”
Many students are facing battles and hurdles that others are not aware of, but they still show up to school every day and put in the work that will allow them to move on to college, a career and making an impact in the world. Perseverance is a part of their daily schedule.
“You can’t expect to get somewhere in life and to have some type of pathway to lead you where you want. I take on a challenge every day from the time I wake up to the time I close my eyes because I know at the end of each day, I’m one step closer to my future.”
TPS Foundation Scholarships
The TPS Foundation is grateful for the ability to award scholarships to these exemplary students. A portion of the scholarships awarded by the Foundation are made possible through endowed funds gifted by individuals who have made it their legacy to create opportunities for students.
With the purpose of investing in the success of students, the TPS Foundation will continue to make an impact through funding programs that range from annual scholarships to student-run organizations.
One of the main objectives of the TPS Foundation is to provide scholarships to graduating TPS seniors. The Foundation offers this support to students who are attending traditional colleges as well as those choosing to pursue a Career Tech program.
This year, the TPS Foundation awarded over $30,000 in scholarships to 24 students. The funds awarded help graduating seniors take the next step toward their desired career. To apply for the scholarship program, students were asked to fill out an extensive application, as well as share an essay that described their leadership qualities. The question asked of them was to describe a time in which they took a leadership role and what they learned about themselves throughout that process. The answers provided by the students truly spoke of their passions and showcased their future goals. And while all of the student essays were written for the same purpose, each is unique and inspiring in its own way.
TPS Students Showcase Exemplary Leadership Skills
The TPS Foundation board members found the student essays to be outstanding. With such inspiring students, we plan to showcase some of the responses throughout our blog.
Victoria Davis, the recipient of the Toledo Public Schools Foundation Scholarship, had a wonderful quote to share with TPS Foundation supporters. The Bowsher High School senior’s essay mentioned the topic of self-awareness and what she learned about her own through her leadership experience. “Though no matter what form it may come in, self-awareness allows me to pursue my passions and achieve my goals. Yet it is not only this that has and will continue to help me achieve greatness.”
Though no matter what form it may come in, self-awareness allows me to pursue my passions and achieve my goals. - Victoria Davis
Another young and inspiring scholarship recipient, Alexandra Leathers, addressed the hurdles she’s overcome, sharing a perspective that is well beyond her years. “Going through difficult situations and not giving up on my education shows that I can get through anything that is hurled my way. I can still come out on top even when I feel I’m at rock bottom,” said the University of Toledo Tillotson Award recipient. The TPS Foundation board members were incredibly proud to read such a quote and feel that we should all challenge ourselves to see life through a similar lens as Alexandra.
Celebrating TPS Scholarship Recipients
We will continue to celebrate the scholarship recipients throughout our blog and on our social media channels, but the true celebration for these hard-working students is the annual Celebration of Excellence dinner. This year’s event will take place on April 18 at which the student scholarship recipients, along with their parents or guardians, will be joined by some of their high school teachers and TPS administration members. The evening provides the opportunity for students to receive well-deserved recognition and it provides even more inspiration to those attending.
Learn more about how the TPS Foundation plays a role in the life of TPS students year-round through our blog:
The Toledo Public Schools district isn’t just innovative in its approach to education, but also its communication tactics! The district recently launched This Is TPS, a podcast that allows the community to learn about the inner workings of the district and how it prepares students for their futures.
In Episode 01 of the This Is TPS podcast, host Candice Harrison speaks with TPS CEO/Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant about the commitment the district has to serving its students. During the episode, Dr. Durant explains the wraparound services TPS provides to students. This includes the services that come as a result of the district’s partnership with local agencies including the United Way of Greater Toledo and grassroots agencies throughout the area. These partnerships allow TPS to provide education to students, while also ensuring that they are in a good place to learn both physically and mentally. Examples of this wraparound approach include having onsite mental health providers at certain schools and after-school programs to ensure children have the supervision they need, along with constructive activities and food assistance.
TPS’ Innovative Communication Approach
Dr. Durant explains the strategic business actions taken by the district that have allowed TPS to offer the best possible experience to all students. He also touches on the importance of an inclusive approach of communication with students, faculty and staff members.
The newly launched podcast will allow the community to learn about the district’s initiatives, achievements, programs and more through one of the sincerest forms of communication in today’s world. Subscribe to the podcast to not only listen to Episode 01 with Dr. Durant, but to always be the first to know what the district has on the horizon.
Join the TPS Foundation as a TPS Advocate
The TPS Foundation is proud to support a district that constantly evolves in an effort to provide an educational experience that prepares students for the most successful future possible. We encourage all TPS supporters to continue to engage with the district and serve as advocates. By subscribing to the This Is TPS podcast and following both TPS and TPS Foundation social channels, you arm yourself with the knowledge that may help us increase support and enhance the future for even more students.
From its inception in 1849, TPS remains a progressive, forward-thinking school district. While the definition of this has changed over the years, Toledo Public Schools continues to offer its students the ability to build their best future.
What does this mean in today’s education landscape? We’ve outlined some of the unique options and programs offered by TPS that help students not only be successful in their schooling, but build careers.
TPS Student-Focused Programs
Magnet Schools Offering Specialized Instruction:
While the traditional high schools remain a part of the TPS structure, there are now four magnet schools within the district. These schools offer specialized instruction in high-growth industries, giving students the ability to learn the skills that will help them launch a successful career while still in high school.
These magnet schools include:
- Aerospace & Natural Science Academy of Toledo: A combination of two Career Tech Programs (The Aviation Center and the Natural Science Technology Center) and the newest magnet school, the Aerospace & Natural Science Academy of Toledo will be housed in a renovated building at the Toledo Express Airport. Students can start the application process by clicking here: ANSAT application
- Jones Leadership Academy: This High School of Business is a place for students who envision themselves as future business or community leaders. This TPS academy offers college prep for students in 7th through 12th grades, with a business-themed curriculum that includes marketing, finance and supply chain management.
- Toledo Technology Academy: The perfect place for students who want to learn how things work! Toledo Technology Academy has a Career Tech focus in Engineering and Science Technologies. Students have the chance to earn college credits while at this academy, as well as industry credentials and employment through internships and apprenticeships, thanks to the business partnerships TPS has with more than 50 local companies!
- Toledo Early College: Designed to accelerate students into college courses at The University of Toledo, this magnet school offers a college preparatory program to students in 7th through 12th grades. Students attending Toledo Early College can earn an associate degree from The University of Toledo or 60+ college credits, all while also experiencing a typical high school experience with their peers.
The College Credit Plus Program
Another program offered to students within the TPS district is the College Credit Plus (CCP) program. This allows high school students to enroll in classes at colleges or universities, earning credits for both their high school and college transcripts.
The program enables students to take advantage of a wider variety of options. The courses are of no cost to the student as long as the college course is also taken for high school graduation credit — this includes tuition, textbooks, materials and any other fees.
Students Have Choices at TPS
The students within the Toledo Public Schools district have choices. They are able to decide between several TPS schools, allowing them to have a hand in creating the best high school experience possible.