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Anoka-Hennepin celebrates 38 graduating seniors from the NWSISD Step-Up Mentorship Program

Courtesy of Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD).

(05/26/2023) For 94 students across the Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) consortium, graduation happened May 18, thus ending their tenure in the Step-Up Mentorship Program.  

Of those 94 students, 38 were from Anoka-Hennepin’s five traditional high schools. 

This year again, the Cannon Family awarded their Possibility Scholarship to recognize an outstanding Step-Up Mentorship graduate. An application with essay and specific requirements are required to be considered for the $2,000 scholarship. LaKhil Garlington who attends Champlin Park High School, was this year’s recipient. Garlington will be attending Alexandria Technical & Community College in the fall.
The graduating Step-Up students were brought together one last time for lunch at North Hennepin Community College along with their mentors. The program included a video from across the years, student testimonials, comments from Step-Up team leaders, and a recognition of graduates. Despite their mentorship program being sidelined by COVID for two years, these students formed bonds that went beyond the classroom and will go beyond high school graduation.

What students had to say about their experiences…

“…the program helped me shift my views.”
“…thank you for the opportunity to be here today.”
“…got me out of my comfort zone.”
“…helped me get through high school.”
“…grateful for the experiences.”
“…this is a good program to be a part of.”
“…we had some good experiences, thank you.”
“…thankful for all the character building.”

The Step-Up Mentorship Program was created to support young men throughout their high school career. The program begins with the weeklong Summer Summit held at University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Campus with an intent to prepare students for the increased rigor they will encounter in high school. Participants are identified by their school district as potentially benefiting from additional academic and social support and guidance. Students who participate in the Summer Summit receive additional guidance and are involved in mentorship activities throughout their high school careers.

After high school graduation, almost all the young men plan to continue their education at a post-secondary school of choice and/or military.