Medina Journal-Register — LYNDONVILLE — Every high school student has passions and interests that are unique to them. However, many young people have trouble connecting what they are naturally interested in - whether it is playing video games, reading mystery novels, or catching bugs in their back yard - to a potential career down the road.
Roadtrip Nation is an organization that helps students connect the dots between their personal interests and real world opportunities. Through the program, students see firsthand how what they learn in the classroom today can become a future career. The organization received $1 million from AT&T and the AT&T Foundation earlier this year to produce a mobile-friendly curriculum that helps students at risk of dropping out of high school connect their studies and interests to real-world opportunities. With this new funding Roadtrip Nation was in Lyndonville last week in an effort to extend its program offerings to 10,000 students in six states.
The curriculum engages students in self-reflection exercises to help identify their interests. Roadtrip Nation’s vast interview archive, which contains video interviews with hundreds of successful real-world leaders spanning every industry, allows students to learn the steps they took that got them to where they are today. To make the learning process more tangible to students’ lives, the culminating curriculum project sends students out on their own “Roadtrips” to interview local leaders in their communities who share their interests. Throughout the experience, students connect to an online student community, where they can share their projects and connect with like-minded peers who share their same goals.
Roadtrip Nation’s visit to Lyndonville coincided with the school adopting the Roadtrip Nation Experience curriculum with its students this school year. This kickoff event brought career exploration to life with guest speaker New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley sharing firsthand accounts on how education played a pivotal role in his professional achievements. The engagement event also included interactive activities all with the goal to get students excited and engaged about their upcoming Roadtrip Nation Experience in their classroom.
“The Roadtrip Nation Experience motivates students to find and then follow their own passions in life,” said Beth Adcock Shiroishi, Vice President of Sustainability and Philanthropy, AT&T. “By bringing the real world into the classroom and connecting the dots between students’ personal interests and potential careers, we hope to show the relevance of learning and further combat forces that drive students to dropout.”
The support for Roadtrip Nation is part of AT&T Aspire, AT&T’s $350 million commitment to education. With more than 1 million students impacted since its launch in 2008, Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.
“The heart of our curriculum is to allow students to map their interests to future pathways in life,” said Mike Marriner, Co-Founder of Roadtrip Nation. “With the help of AT&T, we will be able to deliver this valuable program to underserved schools and students across the nation in need of new, dynamic opportunities to explore pathways for their futures.”