It’s graduation week, and there seems to be one question on everyone’s mind—“What are you going to do when you graduate?” While we are all thrilled that our students have earned their high school diplomas, we know that the next steps are so important. We have career experiences at the high schools which allow kids the opportunity to test-drive their future. The programs are worthwhile, but now the real test takes place. Life.
We believe that, if a person knows his/her strengths and pursues his/her passions in an engaging career, there will be an increase in the likelihood of that person having hope, a sense of well-being, and happiness. If we can combine these passions, strengths, and career goals with pathways students can pursue in school, the chances of students landing their dream jobs increases. That’s what we want to see happen.
Myrick Navejar and Everett Janway, Wylie East High School seniors, and Parker Marshall, Wylie East High School junior, are pursuing their entrepreneurial business passions by starting a company with skills and knowledge they learned in their business classes. Their company, Prep Tide, creates and sells a new line of high-end t-shirts which are marketed towards teens. It’s an extraordinary opportunity.
I had the chance to eat lunch with these young men, and you would not believe how pumped they were to tell me about their company. Each partner explained how they contributed to the business by using their strengths. From accounting, to design, to marketing and sales, their high school experiences gave them the tools they needed to be successful. They can see their future, and they are pursuing it with a map they created at school—using the strengths they discovered in class.
This is Jaxson Hill, a junior at Wylie East High School. Last year, he set a goal to use his talents to do something for the community. He wanted to form, organize, and lead something. After brainstorming with him, he was able to identify math as his greatest strength and passion. He gets joy out of helping others to enjoy it as much as he does. His realization fostered the idea of forming the Woodbridge math tutoring program. Jaxson and his volunteers now offer math tutoring, free of charge, to anyone who needs help. The tutoring takes place at Cox Elementary and a wide range of students, from 1st grade to college, have shown up to receive guidance and support. I would say the program has been a success.
Jaxson knows there are more students to reach, and he hopes to grow the program. His bold goal is to reach all the students of Wylie, not just those in our neighborhood. To learn more, check out his Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/WoodbridgeMathTutoring/
Myrick, Everett, Parker, and Jaxson are four very different students, with several things in common, who are pursuing their passions, using their strengths, and designing a pathway towards possible careers in fields that engage them. According to Gallup, people who love their jobs, get to use their strengths, and focus on their passions have more hope, well-being, and engagement than their peers. This is what we want for our graduates.
These stories make me hopeful and grateful that we are graduating students with more than the ability to pass a test. We are helping them to use their strengths, pursue their passions, and design a pathway to a career they will love. Thanks to Myrick, Everett, Parker, and Jaxson for showing us the Wylie Way!