“Step Up is there for you! They help you stay on task. They don’t let you leave until your homework is done.”
That’s Royce Hayson talking. He’s a freshman at Madison High School in northeast Portland, one of a group of students in his class who are taking advantage of Step Up, an after-school program aimed at helping students launch successfully on the road to graduation. Hayson said he is achieving his goal this year of a 3.5 GPA and believes a 4.0 is possible for him.
In a recent presentation to Pearl Rotary Club, Hayson and his Step Up classmate, Sam Guy, praised the program for keeping them on track during the difficult freshman year when many students who are academically at risk of dropping out are challenged.
Guy said he has moved from a 1.7 GP average of the past to a current 3.0 GPA. He credits Step Up staff and classroom advocates for “being there” for students, “They believe in you; believe you can realize your goals”, he added. Guy allowed that he now has college aspirations and a desire to become an attorney.
Pearl Rotary is a community partner to Open Meadow School in north Portland which initiated the program. Rotarians have supported Step Up for the past three years, helping to underwrite costs and providing volunteer tutors. Step Up is also available at Roosevelt, Franklin and Gresham high schools.
At the club meeting, Don Barney, past president of Pearl Rotary and a volunteer tutor, presented a $4,000 check in support of Step Up to Sierra Hill, Step Up program manager and Nia Lewis, program coordinator at Madison (as the two students watched–see photo).
Ms. Hill thanked the club for its continuous support over the past three years, including the time and energy shared by Pearl Rotarians helping students complete homework assignments and special projects for English, biology, world studies and other classes. More than a dozen Pearl Rotarians have volunteered as Step Up tutors since 2009.