By DeLayna Wilhelmsen
Volunteer Engagement Intern
The excitement in the halls of Kearns High School isn’t just about the school’s 50th anniversary. The school has more reasons to celebrate, including a drastic improvement in graduation rates and expanded leadership opportunities for the students. And, there’s a special way that you can help Kearns High observe its 50th — by volunteering at the Day of Action event on Friday, June 16! Invite your friends, family, co-workers, and community groups to assemble over 1,000 hygiene kits, construct math and literacy games, improve the grounds, and do community outreach in the surrounding neighborhoods. Find out out more and register at dayofaction.uw.org. Your work will keep the momentum going and help students overcome barriers.
Kearns High Community School Director, Steve Whatcott, says one of the biggest challenges facing the school is the number of students with significant needs. “There are approximately 2,400 students, with about 1,200 of these students at-risk for huge needs, like adequate food and housing, or support to succeed in school.”
Despite those daunting numbers, the graduation rate at Kearns High has increased dramatically over the past five years from 67 percent, to 84 percent just last year. Every staff member played a vital role in that turnaround, embracing the idea that even ONE student not graduating is one too many. Principal Maile Loo’s hard work and determination paved the path for improvement, and she was recognized with a Changemaker 2017 Award at United for Change last month.
Graduation is not the only focus at Kearns High. “Giving students multiple leadership and mentoring opportunities will help them make the transition to life after high school,” says Steve. With that in mind, impassioned advisers of groups like Latinos in Action (LIA) and People of the Pacific (POP), connect their students with elementary children to help them with reading and math. The student government hosts a large Sub-4-Santa and a prom dress drive for girls who can’t afford dresses. Students from the University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College run two science and engineering exploration programs for the high schoolers — MESA, and Young and Wise.
The school is always looking for new mentors and additional opportunities for their students. I hope to see you at Day of Action on June 16!
Join the fight to change the odds so that all students can achieve their dreams!
Get signed up for Day of Action TODAY!