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Baltimore Beyond Graduation: Virtual Roundtable Recap

On Thursday, August 27, the Fund for Educational Excellence and City Schools’ Navigator Center convened seven former City Schools students who have taken a variety of paths after high school graduation to discuss their experiences and give advice to current students. 

Baltimore Beyond Graduation: Virtual Roundtable featured practical and insightful guidance for Baltimore City Schools students currently weighing their post-high school options. The panelists’ perspectives on their pathways, including two and four year colleges, trade schools, and career mentorship programs, made for a compelling session with easily-implementable advice for students – as well as helpful reminders for all of us. 

Thank you to the seven panelists, Chanell Mosley, Diamond Spruill, Omani Placide, Jada Gardner, Julius Gingles, Pablo Richter, and Keith Roots, for taking the time to support current students. 

Take a look at some of the panelists’ advice: 

Try new things and have new experiences: Panelists described feeling unsure in high school about possible career paths or college majors. They expressed that trying anything and everything – even things they didn’t know they would enjoy – is an important part of learning. The more experiences a student has, the more context they have to decide on their future.  

Have confidence in yourself and your potential: The message to students was clear: you are more than enough, you are capable, and you have limitless potential. Graduates found it crucially important to remember and believe that, saying they wish they had said this to the high school version of themselves. They told students that high school is far from “the end” – it is merely the beginning – both of an adult life but also of one’s learning. As one panelist put it: “high school teaches you to study and teaches you to learn.” 

Grades or financial circumstances don’t need to be barriers: Panelists told stories of initially feeling like their grades or lack of financial resources made their college or career goals seem impossible. However, they highlighted the options they pursued to overcome these obstacles. For example, students with mediocre grades in high school started out at community college, increased their GPAs, and subsequently got accepted to four-year schools. Others with financial barriers were able to access scholarship programs.

Ask for help and access programs and resources: Every panelist cited a program that gave them motivation, structure and opportunities to grow into who they wanted to become. These included Grads2Careers, Youthworks, Literacy Lab, QuestBridge – all programs that support students. To overcome uncertainty about options, current students should ask for help and explore opportunities! And to those who may feel unsupported, panelists encouraged them to continue exploring and growing, to know that there will be people in life – now and/or down the road – who want to help. 

The Fund hosted this webinar as part of its BMore Ready program, an initiative working to help prepare Baltimore City Public School students for college and career. Elevating the voices of those with first hand experiences and perspectives in our educational system is a crucial component of ensuring all students access and help shape the excellent education they deserve. 

To hear more from these panelists directly, check out our recording of the webinar below! For more information about BMore Ready, click here

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