On December 13th nine well-deserving students from Brandon EPIC will be taking a once in a lifetime trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but this trip comes at a cost, that’s where Paul Burke and Principal Bobo come in, they reached out to community partner and friend, Mr. John Daux, a dedicated and successful real estate professional in this local area. He jumped at the opportunity to help these students grow, learn and develop into young men and women. His support is driven by his desire to help staff meet their obligation to connect with students in a way that creates a pathway for success. Mr. Daux’s mission was to raise close to $10,000.00 for these students to experience something different and travel outside of their comfort zone, and he did just that.
“Our kids will be able to attend and participate without the financial burden and worry. We value and celebrate Mr. Daux as a leader in our community—wanting to support the needs of our kids and help all of us build a successful future for these students,” said Paul Burke, EPIC Student Transition and Community Engagement Specialist.
Students were given information on how to qualify for the field trip. They spent most of the first quarter competing weekly by turning in their PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) point sheets. The points were earned with input from teachers on student behavior, course work and attendance. Students were dedicated on a very high level to perform in an effort to move onto the second round of the competition. Twenty-one students competed and turned in a 500-word essay primarily about why they should qualify for the trip to Pittsburgh.
Nine students then entered the final round, and worked with community partners and EPIC staff to prepare for a formal panel interview. During the interview, students were asked to reflect on a time they faced a challenge in their life, and what lessons they learned from that experience, that they can use when faced with challenges in the future. They also shared with the panel what they hope to gain from going to Pittsburgh and elaborated on why they should be selected to attend the Pittsburgh trip.
The panel was so impressed with the students that each one of the students earned a ticket to board a plane that takes off on December 13th.
“What I hope the students get out of this trip is enlightenment, exposure to something different and the ability to see that the world is more than just the four corners that you live in or you experience. These students are very talented and smart— giving them this slight exposure will help get them to that next level,” said John Daux.
For many, this will be their first time visiting another state, staying in a hotel, flying in an airplane and feel much colder temperatures. The students will tour the University of Pittsburgh, historical sites and attend Workshops on character development. Congratulations to the Brandon EPIC students, we cannot wait to hear about the trip and the new possibilities it brings for your future!
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