Bay Area Spark student Kheilaun and his mentor
This school year, Spark premiered a new program highlight - Share Your Spark events and activities that serve as the culmination of the first 10 weeks of the program year. Share Your Spark events are the midpoint in the program cycle and allow Spark students and their mentors to share their Spark projects with fellow students, teachers, mentor coworkers and others. Share Your Spark events encourage students to pause and reflect on all they have learned during their first semester in the program while reserving the large-scale, capstone celebration for citywide Discovery Events that take place at the end of the program year each spring.
Spark's very first Share Your Spark events occurred across the country and through Spark Online in fall 2015! There are three ways for students to Share Your Spark: online through Spark Online, at their mentor’s workplace or at school. Nearly 40 companies nationwide hosted Share Your Spark at work events, with student and mentor pairs from 68 different organizations participating. Eight Spark school partners (and counting!) are also hosting their own Share Your Spark at school events. Here are some Share Your Spark highlights from Spark's regions:
In the Bay Area, Kheilaun, a 7th grader at Westlake Middle School in Oakland, built a battery-powered car with his mentor, a Linux Administrator at PG&E. Kheilaun started the semester off with some behavioral and academic challenges and frequently struggled to understand behavioral expectations and to engage fully with his apprenticeship. However, as he and his mentor began the kinesthetic work of their project throughout the semester, Kheilaun made a huge turnaround. By the end of the semester, Kheilaun had become a model Spark student, expressing dismay that the next apprenticeship was not until March!
In Chicago, students from Caesar Chavez Multicultural Academy, a school on Chicago’s west side, visited the Spark office every Wednesday to meet with mentors from Spark’s national and Chicago teams. Spark Chicago Volunteer Manager, J.D. Van Slyke coached his student Diego as he interviewed a video game designer, SWAT officers and Google engineers for a new podcast called "What Are Those....Jobs!?"
Spark LA held a citywide Share Your Spark event at Dodger Stadium this fall. Students Vanessa, Lisa, and A'mya worked with their mentors at HBO to create a red carpet premier for their favorite show, Scream Queens. The location they chose was the famous Hollywood Forever cemetery. They created an event plan, guest list, budget and a model.
In the spring semester, Spark students will gear up for a second apprenticeship with inspiring mentors nationwide with a culminating Discovery Event taking place in each region. Spark is so proud of the accomplishments of all Spark students this fall!
Spark Chicago students and their Spark mentors