On August 17, Hiawatha Collegiate High School opened its doors to just over 100 ninth-grade scholars as they take a next significant step in their journey towards college.
Some of these scholars have been with us since they were in first grade, when we were one school that operated in the wing of a church. Our founding students have shown us time and time again that they can achieve great things and that they are kind, caring and creative young people that have limitless potential.
New Hiawatha scholars who are joining us for the first time are here because they and their families trust that we can help them achieve their hopes and dreams.
Our high school model is unique. Most high schools start college counseling junior or senior year, but the ninth-grade scholars who walked through our doors this month will receive college and career counseling right away. For part of their regular coursework they will attend Early College Seminar throughout their ninth-grade year. In this course they will explore the power and importance of college and the critical role that high school success plays in future college success. They will also be part of an advisory for four years that helps them prepare for college — academically, socially and emotionally. Along the way, we provide college admission and enrollment coaching for students and their families, and we pledge to keep in touch with them after they graduate so we can continue to offer them support.
We do all this because our mission does not end when our scholars graduate from Hiawatha Collegiate High School. We care deeply about our future Hiawatha graduates, and want them and their families to succeed wherever their path may bring them after graduation day.
As you know, scholars in grades K-8 also began school this month, and seeing our new high school open gives me a new perspective. Our high school scholars are knocking on the door of disrupting systemic inequity, and they are also older siblings, role models and pioneers to all the Hiawatha scholars following in their footsteps.
I am beyond excited to see our younger scholars follow in their footsteps in the years ahead.