One of our newest members took the podium and told us about himself. Bob said that he grew up in South Warren. His Father was an electrician and the school district was not one to promote a college education. He cited three distinct situations while in school that made him believe that where he was today was by “luck”. One day at school his Social Studies teacher pulled him aside and told him if he wanted to go on a tour of Central Michigan University. He decided to go and became the first generation college student!
Six months later a counselor mentioned the trip to CMU and asked him if that was where he was going to apply. Bob said “Yes”! Bob completed an application, was later admitted and worked for the campus police while there. After graduating he took a teaching position at the Huron Valley School System then went onto Assistant Principal and then Principal. He then became the Principal at Lakeland High.
He mentioned that the work we do with Fluency Friends is so important in being a positive influence in a child’s life. His Mother’s expectations was for him to be an assistant manager at Farmer Jack’s someday. He said that while she meant well, she didn’t fully grasp the other opportunities that might have been available to him as he chose a vocation. He credits his own teachers for setting high standards for him. He reminds his own staff today at APS that they can have that same influence on the students right here in Adrian by being role models for them while they are going to school. The students, in turn, can then reframe that perspective with their own parents so they can take that different pathway, Bob said.
Bob added that college and a 4-year degree was not for everyone and that there was currently a shortage for people entering the trades. APS is committed to providing the best education for students, he said, while suggesting different paths they can take following graduation. That included partnership with the LISD and their Tech Center which is second to none, he said. The key is to get kids involved early so they will recognize that it is not the traditional “shop class” anymore but that it cutting-edge technology, he said.
Within APS, he said, they had an outstanding Educational Foundation providing state-of-the-art programming and facilities, the arts, as well as an outstanding orchestra equal to Oakland Public Schools. Bob then mentioned the International Baccalaureate Program (IBP) – “an opportunity to provide and accelerate and provide an outstanding focus on looking at things from a global perspective”.
He thanked Gerry for helping to “blur the lines” from high school to college and then onto the workforce at APS with the work he has been doing. Kids from Springbrook, he said, are attending the high school to take advanced classes due to their proximity. Dual enrollment programs are also being worked on, Bob said, where students get college credit which helps offset tuition costs when going to college.