While test scores and GPAs can demonstrate that our scholars are succeeding in their courses, they do not offer insight into their passions, their ability to work with others, or many other necessary skills in a professional setting. For our scholars to excel in college and in life, they need to be able to apply their academics to the world around them in meaningful ways. Each year and during the summer, our scholars undertake a long-term, collaborative project that engages issues discussed in the classroom, such as those of social justice, and are required to use their creativity and knowledge to solve them.
This year’s project with the University of Houston’s PEERS program is centered around public health issues in Harris County. Scholars must identify community partners who can assist them with their work, give them high-quality feedback, and offer opportunities for hands-on experiences. Through 21st Century Skills, scholars develop a portfolio of high-caliber work that is utilized on their college applications. Moreover, our scholars are able to hone essential characteristics such as creativity, grit, initiative, intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and leadership that will help them to be successful in college and the world beyond.