NLCP News

Students Shine at Colloquium
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One of NLCP’s core values is the idea that having meaningful relationships with adults is the foundation for student growth.  Sometimes those adults are teachers, but sometimes they come to us from outside our walls.  This year, for example, more than 160 volunteers served as Senior Project Advisors to help the Class of 2015 hone and develop their research and presentation skills.

Senior Project is NLCP’s culminating academic experience.  It requires each senior to select a driving question to research and defend before a panel of teachers and volunteer judges.   It is a challenging assignment that will prepare them to complete college-level work.  Like most teenagers, our students procrastinate, they question the benefits of the assignment and they threaten not to do the work.  Each needs someone to show interest in their progress and to challenge them to dig deeper and think harder about their driving questions.  The Senior Project Advisors are that someone. They meet with their young charges several times a year, and challenge, inspire and cajole them to excel.

While seniors must earn a passing mark from their panels in order to graduate, this year’s 25 best and brightest were invited to participate in our third annual Phoenix Colloquium on May 28, an evening dedicated to conversation and knowledge led by the students.  Presenting at Colloquium is a big deal.  Each student received a $500 college scholarship and the top six students each won a $1,000 scholarship.  The winners of those prizes—which BMO Harris Bank and CD One Price Cleaners generously sponsored—were determined by the nearly 200 faculty, family members and volunteers who attended.  Each guest observed and rated two presentations—which covered topics ranging from whether the U.S. should intervene to stop genocide to whether or not community policing prevents crime.

These young thought leaders, who only months ago were intimidated by Senior Project, sparked conversations that spilled into hallways and continued in NLCP’s auditorium.  Prior to announcing the winning students, John Horan, NLCP’s President observed, “What is truly marvelous is that all of this has been put in motion by twenty-five brave young men and women from the West Side. Their hard work, their accumulated wisdom, their thirst for knowledge – their Senior Projects – has brought us all here tonight. Who would have thought?”

Who were those winning students?  Justice Long, Traquita Marshall, Tyshawn Martin, DezWon Quinn, Sidney Trotter and Alex Wallace each won $1,000 scholarships for college that they will put to good use this fall.  They—and the Senior Project Advisors who challenged them—all put a lot of work into making sure their presentations were ready for Colloquium.  Thank you Dave and all the Senior Project Advisors for making an impact on the lives of our students!