Challenge Program honors MAHS students
MEYERSDALE - While the presentation may have looked different, the fundamental core of The Challenge Program has remained unchanged. On November 5, several Meyersdale Area High School students were honored in five areas of excellence - Attendance, STEM, Community Service, Academic Excellence and Academic Improvement by The Challenge Program, via a virtual assembly. These five areas are the core of this program, established in 2003.
The Challenge Program Inc. has been contributing to workforce and economic development by connecting business and education to achieve a common objective: the development of a skilled and motivated future workforce. The Challenge Program, Inc.’s mission is to build sustainable Business/Education partnerships while motivating students to develop good habits required to succeed in school and in their future careers. The Challenge Program, Inc. carries out its mission through in-school assemblies and ceremonies, workforce development activities, and continuous communication between businesses, educators and students.
The theme of the 2020 virtual assembly was the game “Why Not You, Why Not Now?” and focused on the opportunities each student has to improve their lives. This theme was used as an introduction to the financial awards this program sponsors each year in the following areas linked with academic and workplace success: Attendance, Academic Improvement, Academic Excellence, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and Community Service. The school’s business partner for the 2020-20201 school year is Craig Staresinich, who has been a generous supporter of this program for five years.
Nora Wells, The Challenge Program, served as the host for the assembly and encouraged students to consider the five principles to be the building blocks for their own personal success.
“We are excited to give out awards in these five categories,” Wells explained. “In a world where we are not in control of what is going on, we can control what can lead to success in school and in our future careers.”
The founder of The Challenge Program, Dan Perkins, also spoke about his own personal history and the history of the program.
“We are all given choices, the easy way or the hard way. The easy way can lead to trouble, but the right way, the hard way, leads to success,” Perkins explained. “Tough times don’t last but tough people do.”
Staresinich shared a similar message, urging students to “be engaged and productive members of your community.”
He also shared with students the details of his own school and professional history. Following graduation, Staresinich accepted a job with NASA’s mission control. He spent 14 years with NASA and worked on Apollo missions, Skylab and the early phase of the Space Shuttle program.
Staresinich is a firm believer in the ideals of The Challenge Program and considers these attributes to be critical components of his own success and that of others.
The following students, now seniors, were recognized as the recipients of the awards: Brennan Campbell, Attendance Award and Community Service; KeriAnn Beard, STEM Award; Brooke Miller, Academic Improvement; and Alix Tipton, Academic Excellence.
The following students, now juniors, were also honored for their achievements: Evan Brenneman, Attendance; Gaege Hetz, STEM; Jillian Bako, Community Service; Jesse WSerner, Academic Improvement; and Alexia Laws, Academic Excellence.
Each student received a certificate in addition to a check for $200 for their outstanding work.
For more information on the work of this initiative, please visit www.tcpinc.org.