Tag: <span>mentoring</span>

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Chad Dougherty Tim BiergertI got an invitation from my mentee, Chad Dougherty, to attend his Industrial Tech class at the Northfield Middle School on Monday to watch the CO2 car races. IT instructor Tim Biegert and Instructional Educational Assistant Lance Poole graciously allowed me to take some photos and video.

For the CO2 races, each student shapes a block of wood into a car body shape, drilling holes for the axles and the CO2 cartridge. Considerable sanding, sealing, and painting in involved. Students attach two eyehooks to the bottom of each car so that a string can be used as a guide to keep them on the track.

On the day of the race, student cars are paired up to race against each other but the key metric is the elapsed time for each car.  Mr. Biegert inserts the CO2 cartridges and a student triggers a mechanism that punctures the seal on the cartridges and sends them down the track at 20-50 MPH, taking about a second to finish. Finishing times are automatically recorded to a computer and displayed on the screen, with rankings likewise updated after each race.

It was quite an exciting event to watch and clearly exciting for the students. Here are 6 more photos and a 10-second video clip of Chad’s race.

Civic Orgs K-12

I became a mentor a year ago through the Connected Kids program, run by the Community Services Division of the Northfield Public Schools. I’m continuing with my same middle school…

Civic Orgs K-12

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HCI’s Zach Pruitt has a blog post about the new Northfield Youth Micro-Grant Program being run by the Union of Youth. Five new business plans are being developed. In a…

Civic Orgs Volunteerism

matt hart Matt Hart, a student in Doug McGill’s journalism class at Carleton College, has written a piece titled Carrying a Torch for Kids Who Dream of College (PDF – full text below).

Carrying a Torch for Kids Who Dream of College

By Matt Hart

In 2001, two third-grade girls from Northfield had a dream.

They would go to college together and be roommates.  There was only one problem: Stephanie was a blond-haired, blue-eyed Midwesterner, and Alejandra was Hispanic.  Back in 2001, only 18% of Northfield’s Latino population passed the Minnesota Basic Skills Test (BST), a requirement to graduate from high school. 

The odds of the girls’ dream being realized looked grim.

That’s not the case anymore though, thanks to the efforts of TORCH, a nonprofit program designed to improve the high school graduation and college enrollment rates of Latino, ESL, and any other would-be first-generation college students in Northfield.

The name stands for “Tacking Obstacles and Raising College Hopes.”

Beth Berry “Students see kids that look like them and are like them making it,” said Beth Berry, coordinator of TORCH at Northfield High School and one of the program’s founders.  “And they say, ‘I know her, I know her.’”

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Civic Orgs K-12