Ready 2 Soar Event Celebrates NAZ HS Grads

by Danielle Bylund, NAZ External Communications Manager

NAZ invited our college-ready scholars to join us in a celebration of their achievements at NAZ Central. These scholars graduated and are moving on to further their educations. We had attendees on their way to St. Catherine University, Augsburg University, to play football on a full scholarship, to the trades, and to serve their country in the Army National Guard.

Part of the Family Achievement Team that focuses on high school, Corey Boyd, Program Manager–MPS, Courtney Castleberry, Family Achievement Coach located at Cookie Cart, and Busi Hands, Family Achievement Coach at Patrick Henry High School, planned the event with Tiffany Wilson-Worsely, Family Achievement Program Director.

We asked Corey, who spearheaded the planning of this event to tell us about the impetus of this new project that celebrates high school graduates.

What was the beginning of ReadySoar?

Ready 2 Soar came from wanting to be able to sustain our relationships with scholars once they graduate high school.  I was having a conversation with Alysha (Price) in the office, and she knows how to get me creatively amped.  Tiffany (Wilson-Worsley) has done a phenomenal job in challenging my thoughts, and concepts.

What is the idea behind ReadySoar?

The original thought was to develop a manual that would act as a guide to help our graduating seniors navigate their first year being out of high school, and moving towards receiving post-secondary education.  If they aren’t pursuing college, then it would help them look for a career, and trade school opportunities.  Not everyone takes the conventional route. My route wasn’t conventional, and it was through the guidance of my mentor Mr. Jadonal Ford (RIP) that going to college became a reality.  Ready 2 Soar progressed to being a celebration of academic achievement and moving on to the next phase in life.  The eagle is the personification of what it means to be Ready 2 Soar.  These students have overcome some of the greatest obstacles, they’ve been prepped for this moment, now it is time for them to find their purpose in life.

What are the outcomes of ReadySoar?

The ideal outcome for Ready 2 Soar would be that every NAZ High School graduate gets accepted into a four-year university, and eventually receives their college diploma.  We also want to see every relationship be sustained, as these scholars move into adulthood.

How are the partners involved?

The partners are involved by allowing us to have access to their scholars.  Busi Hands (Patrick Henry) and Courtney Castleberry (Cookie Cart) have done a phenomenal job of embedding themselves into the high school work that we are doing.  They are two strong individuals who have come in and made an immediate impact by having positive interactions with the very scholars that we are trying to reach.

What do you see as the future of this event?

This is groundbreaking! This is a tone setter, and it’s just the beginning.  I’ve talked to many families on the phone, and they are excited about seeing their scholars be acknowledged by NAZ.  Some of the stories are truly about triumph and breaking down barriers. I see this event growing even bigger, and having such a phenomenal impact on this community.