"What exactly is this Schuler program?"

Prepared by AmeriCorps Scholar Coaches Tessie Allan and Ian Williams, Collins Academy High School

Schuler Scholars Corriean Chapman, Jada Brown and Khaly Diagne at Collins Academy High School

As eighth graders, Jada Brown, Corriean Chapman, and Khaly Diagne had survived the application and interview process to become Schuler Scholars. But an unanswered question still remained.

“What exactly is this Schuler program?” Jada Brown asked as she anticipated starting at Collins Academy High School. She was to find out the answer sooner than she may have expected: all Scholars were required to attend a 10-day leadership program at Camp Manito-wish YMCA the summer before freshman year. Corriean Chapman felt scared and nervous upon learning about this expectation, as did his peers.

“Although camp might be a challenging process, it might be also be an experience that pushes me to adapt and work through something that I’ve never had to deal with before,” Jada thought as she loaded her things onto the bus for the six-hour ride. She sensed that she would learn life lessons at camp, and though she wanted to go home almost as soon as she arrived, she stuck with it.

Corriean had similar doubts at the beginning. “When I arrived at camp I was just lost and alone, and I said to myself, ‘I don’t think I can do this. I want go back home.’”

After a few days, though, they started to meet other Scholars, build communication skills through the group activities, and learn to work as a team with people they had just met.

“If one teammate was down, we would pick each other up,” Jada said. Corriean and Khaly felt the same, and it stayed true even after they left the camp for the trail portion of the program.

“We had to canoe everywhere,” Corriean said. “I was so tired and sleepy by the end of the day that I didn’t even want to take a shower. The experience taught me to never give up and to always keep going.”

A month after the camp session ended, the Collins Scholars, along with the CICS Ralph Ellison Scholars, got the chance to meet and talk with program founder Jack Schuler.

“Getting to meet Jack Schuler was an honor. He was funny, cool, nice, and most of all he had a beautiful heart. He told great stories about how other Scholars before us had succeeded in life because of this program. Jack explained to us how Schuler can be a big step towards success in your life…he always made sure we never held a question back. Mr. Schuler told us to ask him any question that we wanted to ask.”

Freshmen Scholar Khaly Diagne looks forward to a chance to speak to Jack Schuler again, as he has recently thought of a question he wants to ask.

“The question that I want to ask Mr. Jack Schuler is, ‘what does the tree stand for?’ My guess is that maybe the tree stands for how we as Schuler Scholars are family, and maybe the way that the branches of the tree are reaching out--that is the way we may reach out towards success.”

During the last four months, the Collins Scholars have learned, as Jada previously wondered, just what the Schuler Program is exactly: an enrichment program for high-achieving students who are dedicated to striving towards their personal best and the highest possible level of success. Through hard work on skills such as time management, organization, and annotation, the Collins Scholars have developed a strong sense of why the Program exists and how it is set up to help them succeed.


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