Author: Paul J. Luna, Helios Education FoundationOctober 4, 2019
Recently, I had the opportunity to serve on a panel at the National College Access Network Conference in Indianapolis. It was a great conference and I was impressed with the focus and commitment of the attendees to ensure increased opportunities for students to pursue and complete a college degree.
One of the discussion points throughout the conference was how to address the narrative that “college isn’t worth it” and “college isn’t for everyone.” There are varying points of view on this issue and it is a conversation that is happening at a national level as well as local and state levels.
As I participate in these discussions and hear the various points of view, I have become even more committed to my belief – and the belief of Helios Education Foundation – that every individual should have the opportunity to attend and is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education. We fundamentally believe that every student, regardless of where they live, their socioeconomic status, or the color of their skin, should have the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary degree.
We are greatly concerned with any perspective that some kids are college-bound while others are not. We simply believe that we should have high expectations for every student so that when they graduate from high school, they are prepared to follow whatever path they choose – whether that is a university, community college, career and technical program, or the military.
Much of our work at Helios centers around building college-going cultures in schools and communities to create these high expectations and to ensure all students are prepared for success. One of these projects resulted in a student who – by most accounts wasn’t perceived to be an academic performer and, likely, wouldn’t have been considered to be “college-bound.” However, through a partnership with Helios, he took the ACT college entrance exam and scored extremely well indicating he would be a highly sought-after student by any number of universities. Clearly, this student had the academic ability to choose among many options for his future.
Our foundation will remain committed to ensuring that a high-school education will open opportunities for students when they graduate. We will work with partners to increase our expectations of students and create college-going cultures that will prepare them for whatever pathway they choose. We will also raise our voice in support of all students and help change the narrative that college isn’t for everyone. All students must have the opportunity to choose their own path, and if they choose it, college is for them and it is worth it.