At 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16th, approximately 45 parents and high school seniors attended an informational session hosted by Future Institute at CMSA. Sarina Bagcioglu, one of the school’s guidance counselors introduced Future Institute. The Future Institute staff presented information about their programs for seniors and graduates to help ease their transition to college or careers after high school. This information was also available in Spanish.
Iara Aldape, Program Officer, introduced the parents and seniors to Future Fund, a program for high school seniors in conjunction with CYSP at CMSA. In addition to a scholarship fund with the continuation of participating in Future Institute programs after graduation, Future Fund offers to pair the senior with a current college student as a mentor to help their transition as well as college and career preparation workshops. Ms. Aldape also translated all the presented material into Spanish for parents.
Nichole Pientka, Program Officer, presented the Future Leaders Initiative (FLI) program as a support system for graduates while they are pursuing a college degree or a career program. The FLI program includes options for participants like being paired with a mentor in their career fields, mentoring a high school senior in Future Fund, attending workshops, and volunteering. Any Concept graduate may participate in FLI as long as they are registered in a college or career program and will earn a scholarship. Future Fund participants will be given their scholarships once they are registered and committed to the FLI program.
One of the parents asked if there was an academic requirement, to which Ms. Pientka said there is none. Another parent asked whether or not current college students can join FLI. Ms. Pientka responded that as long as those college students graduated from a Concept School they are eligible to join the program. At the end, Ms. Pientka invited seniors to sign up for the FLI program for Fall 2020 if they were not going to participate in the Future Fund program this year.
Cengiz Karatas, Executive Director, explained the ICATT Apprenticeship program. This program is for graduates who may not believe a 4-year college degree suits them and instead want to pursue an associates degree and international certification, earn hands-on experience and a stipend, and be guaranteed employment after completion.
Raul Andrade and Cesar Campos from East-West University also gave a short presentation about this private college located in downtown Chicago. Mr. Campos reminded parents and seniors that the FAFSA application deadline is December 1st and encouraged them to apply as soon as possible to receive the most aid.
Ms. Bagcioglu invited one of the Future Institute Board Members and CMSA graduate Michelle Lopez to speak on behalf of the board and as a graduate. She supported the Future Institute’s mission and spoke about how its programs helped her through college and that the program updates should be able to help more students like her. Ms. Lopez received her bachelor’s degree from the University Chicago and currently teaches at HSA Belmont as an RTI specialist.
A raffle was held at the end of the meeting with a few lucky students winning gift cards and t-shirts for their participation.
The parent meeting was well-attended and many parents and students indicated interest in Future Institute’s programs. The same informational session was given at HSA McKinley Park on October 9th and will be given in the Spring 2020 at HSA Southwest Chicago.