Project SOAR supports first generation college students


Abigail Rudy

Group meeting. Project SOAR has one of their monthly meetings with mentors. Four former students who were in Project SOAR talked to students who are in it now about how the program helped them.

SOAR stands for study, overcome, achieve, reward. Project SOAR is a program students can apply for when they are a freshmen in high school. It is a program that guides students through high school with a mentor and helps get students to college.

“SOAR is a great opportunity for many students to do and will make you money after high school, whether that’s towards college, post secondary school or just anything to help you pursue your career,” sophomore Savannah Huss said.

Students can also use the money for college supplies. They hold monthly meetings where they meet with their mentor and talk to them.

“My favorite part about this program is all of the information that I learned from my mentor, from the system and just even other students in the program,” Huss said.

Former student Savanah Green participated in project SOAR for her four years in high school. She believes it was worth it, and she felt really excited to join it. It gave her a sense of security financially for college.

“Mrs. Dumm still reaches out to me. My mentor still reaches out to me. I have support systems from high school because of SOAR. It’s really nice, and it’s worth it,” Green said.

Mentors have different reasons for becoming one.

“I wanted to make a difference in my students’ lives, and I know that I can make a difference in the classroom but being a mentor takes it to a whole new level,” biology teacher Heather Partsch said.

Amiradama Smith-Banks was unsure about starting the program in the beginning but she is glad she did it.

“I was kind of confused about what it was because when you start at such a young age, you’re not really looking towards college yet. I kind of just saw it as something that’s going to help me in the future, but I didn’t really know what to do with it at first. I definitely feel like it was very beneficial,” Smith-Banks said.

There is a SOAR homeroom and there are meetings where Dumm will talk about different things dealing with mental health, school work, financial aid.

“I gained some people skills and some leadership skills. Then, I also gained some sort of direction for what I wanted to do with my life that I hadn’t really had,” Smith-Banks said.