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Reflecting On My First Year Of College

College can be very intimidating especially for a first-generation college student. One of the first obstacles I encountered was orientation and registering for classes. I attended the second to last orientation, but to my surprise, I was still able to pick all the classes I wanted with no problems. I was prepared for the class selection process from being a dual enrollment student at Florida Southwestern prior to going to Florida International University. I was grateful for the time management and organizational skills that Champions for Learning helped me build to create the perfect schedule for me.

The next obstacle was housing. Champions for Learning made sure everyone was on top of their deadlines and requirements, so I was online selecting my room the moment it opened. I selected a room located on the second floor which meant the elevator ride would be quick and I could take the stairs if I did not want to wait. My room was also the closest to the communal kitchen and it was the best room on the whole floor besides the Residents Assistants.

Another challenge I faced during my first year was making friends, it was very difficult to get out and meet new people. It is challenging to find like-minded people as well as create meaningful friendships during such a busy time in life. But as I progress in my studies, I’ll continue meeting more new people.

The last major obstacle I faced this year was finding out my financial aid account had an error that caused me to have an unexpected balance. When I had heard this, I had no idea what it meant or that it was even possible. I had carefully budgeted my four years of college so that I knew down to the penny what was being covered. Thankfully, I had Champions for Learning just a phone call away to help me figure out what was going on. After all that panic the school agreed there was an error which was corrected, and I did not have to pay an unexpected charge.

There will always be unexpected obstacles looking to slow you down, but I am grateful that I have Champions for Learning always there to help me overcome them. The program taught me how to grow as a student and as a professional. The skills I learned such as writing a professional email or how to find help on campus I use everyday and I will continue to use them throughout my career. I feel as though I am always one step ahead and I have been gifted with valuable knowledge that I can share with not only my peers but with incoming college students who did not have the same opportunities I had.

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Adapting As Volunteers

Champions For Learning is proud of all of the students, teachers and volunteers who continue to be Champions for our community. During this time volunteers have adapted and continue to share their gift of time with our students, helping them to stay focused on their goals.

Volunteers have been active participants virtually in our weekly programming for our students. As you will see in these examples, our volunteers are modeling adaptability and versatility for our students.

Volunteer Frank Blod has traditionally led student workshops on building resumes; this spring the workshop will look a little different. Blod will be leading a virtual training workshop for 20+ volunteers who will learn how to provide feedback virtually to students on ways to enhance the initial draft of their resume. Going virtual has allowed more volunteers to be able to participate in the student resume workshop!

Another example of this is with volunteer, Jesse Roberts, M.D. who has led a workshop for our 8th – 12th grade students who are interested in Healthcare professions. Joining him was Todd Lyon, Director of Talent Management from NCH hospital. They shared the various career options available in healthcare and the different paths and degrees necessary to get there. More than 25 students participated in this session.

“it’s important to always remember gratitude. When you are a doctor, the person who cleans a patient’s room and gets it ready for the next person, it equally as critical to patient care, so you must always remember to say thank you,” said Roberts during his presentation.
Finally, volunteer Larry Kirschner was able to adapt a lab session originally intended for Seniors on Financial Literacy to become virtual. With this opportunity, both Seniors and Juniors from our program were able to join.

“When you are my age, I can assure you, you’ll look back at your 17-year-old self and you’ll either say I’m really glad I took the time to understand this, or you’ll kick yourself for having not thought about it enough. You are the ones who will benefit from understanding this, or pay the consequences for not,” said Kirschner during his presentation to students.

The students learned an introduction to interest rates, credit, and how to make wise financial decisions. Kirschner even developed an online soccer game to allow the students to answer quiz-style questions at the end of the presentation.
Although volunteers are not able to physically meet with students, our volunteers have been able to continue to support and engage students in our program by going virtual! We are so thankful for all of our volunteers.

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10th Graders: Join the Champions College and Career Prep Program

Champions For Learning Opens Applications for 10th Grade Students for College & Career Prep Program

Champions For Learning would like to encourage students in 10th grade from public or independent high schools in Collier County, to apply for the Champions For Learning College and Career Preparation Program. This program is provided at no cost to students and families thanks to the generous support of many donors including the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Naples Children and Education Foundation, Suncoast Credit Union, and the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program through the State of Florida and Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.
Students are provided with:

• College and career preparation program in Champions For Learning on-site lab (Summer of 2020 through 2022)
• Family workshops on college processes such as applications, financial aid and college planning
• Naviance, a web-based tool that enables students to stay on track with college access tasks as well as ACT and SAT test preparation
Program Eligibility:
• Current 10th grade student in a public or independent school in Collier County (and resident of Collier County)
• Minimum 2.5 unweighted GPA
• Must satisfy credit requirements to be on pace to graduate in spring of 2022
• Must have good attendance
• Exhibit good behavior in and out of school
• Student must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or an eligible non-citizen
• Meet the program income eligibility: Eligibility is limited to households with a combined adjusted gross income for tax filers and earned income for those not required to file a federal tax return of less than $120, 347. 2018 tax return accepted.

Applications accepted and reviewed on a rolling bases, until the class is full. The earlier you apply, the greater the potential that space remains available in the program.

Click here to apply!

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Congratulations Champions For Learning Class of 2020

Congratulations Seniors for all of your hard work and commitment as part of the Champions For Learning College and Career Preparation Program! We are so proud of all of your accomplishments. We thank the Seniors for their dedication and hard work and for being true champions!

 

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Inspired By Our Students

 Our community is proud of all of our students. During this time students have shown how quickly they can adapt to their new learning environment.


Students are attending their e- learning classrooms and are participating in their virtual labs through Champions For Learning. 12th grade virtual labs include college readiness, college cooking hacks, giving thanks, and decision day celebration. We are grateful for our students and the leadership that they have demonstrated.

Our students have continued to reach their goals, our 91 12th grade students to date have been accepted into 263 college and universities and have earned 71 scholarships totaling $3,508,332.

During this time our students have stayed flexible and have already shown how they are grateful in many ways.

“Doing work at home has made me more accountable and more independent.” – Ruby
“I appreciate my teachers being understanding and responding as fast as they can to us students!” – Isis
“ I am grateful to be able to spend more time with my family during this time.” – Gabriella
“I appreciate being able to work on my organizational skills.” – Christopher

Thank you to our students who have uplifted us during this time and continue to reach their goals!

Mr. Gamber has been a long time volunteer who has been upgrading our old laptops and some he has donated, so that our students can do their online coursework and participate in our virtual labs and workshops.

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Meet Alaysha

Both of my parents moved to Naples from the Bahamas and are school bus drivers. They’ve always instilled in my siblings and me the value of an education. I’ve always admired my teachers; their brightly decorated classrooms made me excited to learn new things that I would share with my brother.

Five years ago, my school counselor shared an opportunity that changed my life. My parents and I completed my application, and I was selected into Champions For Learning’s program. I was matched with my mentor Tammi, a retired teacher, and given the promise of a two-year college scholarship upon high school graduation. At first, I was nervous about meeting with my mentor, but those fears quickly diminished. As we learned more about each other, now I consider Tammi one of my closest friends.

Because of Champions For Learning and my mentor I have a clear path for my future. The weekly programming has guided me through the college and scholarship applications, helped us complete financial aid applications, and provided campus tours. Champions For Learning has been there every step of the way. Even now, with schools closed and “social distancing”, my mentor supports me through phone calls, and Champions For Learning is providing virtual sessions, webinars, and resources to ensure I stay on track during this critical time.

Today, I have served my community with more than 200 service hours, earned a 4.0+ GPA, been accepted to Florida Gulf Coast University and The University of South Florida and completed 55 scholarship applications to-date. When I graduate from high school this spring, I will also be graduating with my two-year degree from Florida SouthWestern State College and the first in my family to earn a degree. Through Champions For Learning, my community has shown they believe in me, and my teachers, and want us all to succeed.
When I close my eyes, I can already see my classroom, I know where each board will be and what will be on them, how my students’ desks will be arranged, and how I will use what I’ve learned from my own teachers. I want every student to have the same opportunities that I have.


I’m proud to live in a community that is united around supporting educators and I want to become a teacher so that I can impact students and give back to my community.

~Alaysha G., senior at Golden Gate High School, dual enrolled at Florida Southwestern State College

 

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Tune In To Watch: April 5th

Tune in To Watch  Flyer Please Share

Celebrating Teachers: Adapting Golden Apple

TUNE IN TO WATCH:
30th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers
Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 7 pm
NBC-2

Champions For Learning is celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program this year. Each year teachers from across Collier County and their best practices are recognized, and six teachers highlighted as Golden Apple recipients through committed media partners, Naples Daily News and NBC-2. The primary purpose for this recognition is to honor outstanding educators in our community, highlight their best practices, and share our community’s utmost respect for the profession of teaching.

The television special highlighting Collier County’s Golden Apple teachers and Teachers of Distinction will air on Sunday April 5th at 7 pm on NBC-2 and will feature the six Golden Apple teachers and their practices along with highlighting our sponsors and Teachers of Distinction. In addition, there will be social media to promote the television program as well as give our educators prominence in our community.

With the current challenges of the COVID-19 virus, we want to be socially responsible, and not put school staff and families at risk. In lieu of an annual dinner, and with the support of our generous sponsors, we will adapt the program and devote our celebrations to teachers and their classroom practices by funding classroom projects for each of the 52 Teachers of Distinction and Golden Apple teachers.

“We want to keep the focus on our teachers at this time, and hope that by investing in their classroom practices and avoiding large events, we will help to support the health of our community,” shares Susan McManus, President, Champions For Learning. “We are so grateful to our sponsors and the entire community for continuing to support and recognize the important role that teachers play.”
Thank you to Suncoast Credit Union as presenting sponsor of the Golden Apple program, along with major sponsors: and Naples Grande Beach Resort. Additional support is provided by our Major Sponsors: Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, Naples Grande Beach Resort, NBC-2, Stock Development, and Wells Fargo.

 

 

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Champions For Learning Announces 2019-2020 Golden Apple Recipients

 

Students in six Collier County classrooms received bushels of golden apples as their teachers were surprised with Golden Apple awards. Representatives from Suncoast Credit Union, Presenting Sponsor of the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program, were joined by Champions For Learning board members, sponsors, and volunteers to present the awards to the teachers in their classrooms.

52 Teachers of Distinction representing Collier County Public Schools shared their best practices. Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee identified six (6) practices to highlight as part of the Golden Apple process.
Congratulations to the following 2019-2020 Golden Apple recipients. See attached list for the names of the Teachers of Distinction.

• Sarah Bratcher, Lake Park Elementary
• Eileen Fuentes, Sabal Palm Elementary
• Elizabeth Garcia, Manatee Middle
• Theresa Golden, Veterans Memorial Elementary
• Serena M. Hampton-Dunn, Gulf Coast High
• David Stehlin, Immokalee High

Click Here To View Photos of Golden Apple Delivery Day

“At Suncoast Credit Union, we believe that the stronger we make our teachers, the stronger our students will be. For this reason, we create opportunities for educators to share best practices and to grow professionally, “said Cindy Helton executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.
The 2019-2020 Golden Apple recipients will each receive a grant (up to $5,000) from Suncoast Credit Union toward further developing their best practice. The Golden Apple recipients also receive an additional cash award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation.

The community will honor and thank the Golden Apple Recipients, Teachers of Distinction, and Collier County Public Schools’ Teachers of the Year at the Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner on April 3, 2020. This is the 30th annual celebration of Golden Apple as a longstanding tradition of the value our community places on the teaching profession.

Click Here To View Photos of Golden Apple Delivery Day

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CHAMPIONS FOR LEARNING’S STUDENT NAMED AS A LEADERS FOR LIFE FELLOW

Champions For Learning is excited to announce that one of our senior students, Emma has been chosen as a Leaders For Life Fellow. Emma is currently a senior at Naples High School and is dually enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Emma is one of 6 students selected through the statewide Take Stock In Children Program; fellows receive leadership training and professional development opportunities, a new laptop computer, and funding up to $40,000 to attend a 4-year public university in Florida. The L4L selection process was a competitive one with each (TSIC) county affiliate able to submit 2 student applicants. Of the 100+ applicants, a panel reviewed application essays, letters of recommendation, academic record, test scores, extracurricular activities, and video submission to ultimately select the 6 Fellows.

Emma is involved in many ways in the community, she founded a Creative Writing Program that provides workshops for middle school students. Emma is involved with Gulfshore Playhouse as not only a stage manager but also as a mentor for the students. She also initiated the March For Our Lives movement in southwest Florida with the help of local groups. Emma is passionate about literature, she started a magazine called Generation Z and is the co-founder of the Literary Magazine at Naples High School. Emma will be pursuing a degree in English at Wellesely College and aspires to be an English professor one day.

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