Often in education we are not able to see the value of a class or program to an individual student for several years. I have had the good fortune to see the value of the (WSMA) Launchpad program upon a couple of Southwestern Wisconsin students during the past couple of years. The two boys that I am referring to were high school students that were potential dropouts when they entered high school. They were academic “underachievers,” not highly motivated, and spent most of their school day looking for ways to disrupt their classes. As it would be the two boys became friends and were considered by many as “losers.”
During the summer following their freshmen year the boys formed a “garage band” and this became the focus of much of their attention. Their interest in the high school music program also grew during that summer. In the fall, the boys became band members and being encouraged by the high school band teacher, formed a band that began playing for parties and other free events. Sometime during that year the boys heard about the Launchpad program. They set a goal to participate in this program. During their junior and senior year their participation in Launchpad and the recognition they received were instrumental in motivating them to higher academic achievement. They definitely had better self esteem. One of the boys in his senior year was awarded support for his college studies to pursue a career in music. The other boy is attending a technical school in the area. I feel sure that without their experience with Launchpad, the outcome for these two boys would have been quite different. Instead of being college bound, I fear they would have taken a road much less positive.
Southwestern Public Schools