What a difference four years make in the lives of high school students!

We know it takes a village (or a Port St. Joe) to help move children to young adults, but our High School High Tech Program wants to brag on four of our students who will be graduating seniors this year. Three have been active in this career mentoring program since 9th grade.

Robyn Rennick, Program Director, asked the seniors how they felt the High School High Tech program had made a difference for them.

“It put me in places and situations where I could meet business people who I wouldn’t have ordinarily met,” said Joseph Cunningham. “People now recognize me and have referred me to others.”

Joseph has been accepted at Gulf Coast State College and his long-term goal is to be in real estate.

Howard Townsend said that being able to shadow different businesses like the Police Department, the Humane Society and FairPoint had given him an understanding of what each business does and he’s interested in becoming a Corrections Officer.

A highlight of the program for Nick Ward was spending four days in Tallahassee at the Youth Leadership Forum.

“We were able to go to the capital and we learned a lot about leadership,” said Nick, who is headed to Flagler College for a degree in Graphic Design.

Paige Lewis was a newcomer to High School High Tech this year. She has set her sights on joining the Navy in their nursing corp. Paige joined the program through grant funding provided by the Alfred I. duPont Foundation this year.

The students received their graduation cords for being in the program and will proudly march down the aisle on May 24 as they receive their diplomas.

The High School High Tech students engage in activities such as Career Fairs, Career Shadowing, and listening to different business leaders discuss their careers.

“Port St. Joe’s businesses have been so supportive of this program. We have businesses act as mentors to our students and allow them to intern with them during the summer. Having these different experiences allows them to broaden their view of what is possible for their futures,” said Dr. Pat Hardman, director of Dyslexia Research Institute reported.

The Florida High School High Tech is a program that is facilitated by Dyslexia Research Institute and funded through The Able Trust, Vocational Rehabilitation and the Alfred I. duPont Foundation.