The fifth and final TBT stop on our non-profit tour is an education foundation that helps to improve the graduation rate at Myers Park H.S.
A confluence of events – that’s the best way to describe it. In 2012, still suffering from recessionary budget cuts resulting in significant staff cuts, Myers Park High School administrators and parents were cooking up a plan to help some of our most struggling students. Simultaneously members of the Class of 1955 were looking for a way to give back to their alma mater, and at the SAME time current students were raising funds to help struggling classmates with basic needs.
We all bumped into each other and The Myers Park High School Foundation was formed. The mission of the Foundation is to provide support to 9th-12th at-risk students to get them on track for graduation.
Our first order of business was to partner with Communities in Schools to put a full-time caseworker on the campus of Myers Park. The amazing Stacey Weinstein (pictured above) has been an encourager, nagger, accountability partner, counselor and friend to over 100 students each year for four years. Nearly 100% of the students Stacey has worked with have graduated.
Mark Bosco, principal at Myers Park, has credited the work that Stacey and the Myers Park High School Foundation have done with helping to lift the graduation rate up to 95%.
A new program called Mustangs Matter is now underway to give students some afterschool alternatives. These students get tutoring help, explore career possibilities, and play some sports twice a week after the school day ends.
This initiative has given me a chance to work with wonderful parents, alumni, and faculty as well as stay involved in the work of this dynamic urban high school. We have seen MPHS reunion classes challenge each other and raise significant gifts to continue the work the Foundation has started. It has been a way to tell the story of a great public school and to educate the community about the needs that so many of our students face.
We love to tell people that because of the work of the Foundation, we have been “lining up Mustangs for graduation.”
Alumni of other CMS high schools can contact the CMS Foundation to have a direct impact on any school in the system. You don’t have to create your own non-profit to make a difference.