Public School Proud Grant Helps Students Focus on the Future

Diana Soper

Diana Soper received a $506.88 Public School Proud Grant for her idea, “Future Friday.” She started Future Friday four years ago when the principal asked staff members to wear higher education shirts on Fridays. Teachers took that opportunity to talk with the students about their future and what it might look like. Diana had t-shirts from a few colleges, and that is how she started the conversation.  

She created a map, and after they discuss a college, university, tech school, or other program, she places the school mascot on the board so the students can see where the site is in location to Sioux Falls. Starting out, Diana had about six college t-shirts, but the kids were so excited and asked such great questions that the next year she decided to start purchasing pennants to hang up after her class had talked about a school. They discuss 2-year colleges and technical schools, 4-year colleges, online degrees, colleges in South Dakota and schools outside of the state.

Diana ensures her students know there are many different ways for them to be able to pursue higher education, and they discuss scholarships, work study, or other financial aid that might be available to them. Diana noted that her building has a diverse population, and she wants her students to know that they can continue learning after high school and that it might look differently for everyone.

When she started Future Friday, she emailed several colleges, and they sent her several pennants. They are not cheap, however, so Diana will use funds from this grant to purchase the rest of the pennants so that they have enough to hang in the classroom when they learn about them. She would also like her students to be able to make a smaller pennant of their own at the end of the year and take it home so that they continue to focus on the future and the steps they need to take now—like developing a good work ethic—to be successful when they reach that stage of their life.

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