April 2016 Cradle to Career Convening Recap: College and Career Success

Written by: Symphony Chau, Development & Communications Associate

Late last month, nonprofit partners and community members gathered at the Salah M. Hassanein Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. They learned about how the work being done at Long Island City High School through the New York City Department Of Education’s Renewal Community School grant is contributing to students being college and career ready.

Long Island City High School has had a very long and rich history of rigorous academic instruction, holistic activities that support student development and growth and much more. Through the Renewal Community Schools grant, Zone 126 has had the opportunity to increase the number of programs that the organization coordinates to provide additional support services to LICHS students. One of the programs supporting students at LIC that is rooted in rigorous academic instruction and putting students on a path to becoming college and career ready is the Let’s Get Ready! College Access program.

Among the guest speakers featured at the Zone 126 C2C convening were: LICHS Principal, Vivian Selenikas, Let’s Get Ready! Executive Director, Brian Dever, and most exciting, three student participants from the Let’s Get Ready! program discussing their outlook on taking the SAT’s, the college application process and how they have been transformed personally over the course of the last several months.

Principal Selenikas started the morning off by sharing how LICHS’ commitment has been to focus on community even before becoming part of the NYC DOE’s Renewal Community School efforts last year. She emphasized that LICHS’ mission is to help students become resilient and have perseverance, and reverse them from the mindset of “it’s okay to give up, it’s okay to give in.”

Through the Renewal Community Schools effort, Zone 126 has partnered with Let’s Get Ready! (LGR) to pilot a 63-student program that started this past January at LICHS.

Let’s Get Ready!’s mission provides low-income high school students with free SAT preparation admissions counseling and other support services needed to gain admission to and graduate from college. Services are provided by volunteer college students who also serve as role models and mentors.

For Charlene*, Constance*, and William*, LGR was a lifeline because there was no cost and an opportunity they couldn’t have afforded on their own, nor would they have know how to seek out this sort of resource. Not only are the LGR coaches assisting students with their SAT preparation, but they built a relationship in which the students have found personal mentors in many of them as they too are most often first time college goers.

Brain Dever re-emphasized the following point, by highlighting:

LGR does “focused work, and not only brings a program into the community, but becomes part of the community” by partnering with organizations like Zone 126. Brian notes, “Zone 126 is very engaged with our program and that is the greatest key!”


You can read the recap from our January C2C here + RSVP to the next Cradle to Career Convening in June 2016.

*Note: To keep our students’ confidentiality, we have changed their names in this blog post.