UU @ Stamford Academy
…where a school of last resort inspires a script for fresh beginnings…
Consider the backstory of the 144 students at Stamford Academy, a charter high school in Stamford, CT. These students’ previous experience with the schools they have attended? Behavioral issues, truancy, academic failure, brushes with the law.
One major difference is immediately obvious: they attend SA voluntarily.
Here, re-seeing themselves as resourceful survivors newly equips them with the tools they need to plot a purposeful future. 100% of SA students who graduate have been accepted into post-secondary programs.
I too enter Stamford Academy each day as a volunteer.
For 20 years, I have been demonstrating to my private clientele that the 250-750 words that most people dismissively refer to as “the college essay,” can be far more than a superficial display of a high school senior’s ability to dazzle an admissions committee at a selective school. At Stamford Academy, it’s been a privilege to prove the power of my methods where the stakes are even higher.
Below is just one example of what one great essay can accomplish…
Takaire Daniels’ Essay On His Love For Sneakers
Leads To NYC Meeting With Sneaker Executive
When Takaire Daniels wrote his personal narrative, “Sneaker-head,” as a requirement for graduating from Stamford Academy this January, his subject was about more than his passion for a beautifully designed pair of high-end sneakers that caught his eye, it was also about how he might convert the entrepreneurial research skills he’d used to acquire them into an actual career in this dynamic field.
Because Takaire had attended Stamford Academy, here’s what happened next. When SA shared his essay with Julia Wade, Domus Kids’s resourceful Volunteer Coordinator, she in turn contacted Micah Heftman, the son of Stamford family friends. Heftman happens to be Senior Production & Development Manager in charge of Footwear at John Varvatos in NYC. “Would you be available to meet with Takaire to give him an insider’s take on entering the business?” He would, and, on March 6, the two sat down for an animated, kindred-spirited conversation over a two-hour lunch that Natalie Rosas, Takaire’s Stamford Academy family advocate, and Maxene Fabe Mulford, a Stamford Academy volunteer who had originally helped Takaire with his essay, attended too.
Conversational topics ranged from how and when each of them became sneaker-heads, to the uphill, unrelenting road it had taken Micah to enter the field (“be willing to do anything and everything, even interning without pay, even joining the company track team to successfully win a pilgrimage to Nike’s headquarters in Oregon!”) By the end of the conversation, not only had the otherwise glamorous field been demystified for Takaire, it had become a goal he could now personally see himself pursuing, armed with the caveat that it would take time, an occasional detour, resilience, and above all unshakeable enthusiasm, to attain. This fall, Takaire, who currently lives in Bridgeport and works in New Canaan, will attend Housatonic Community College where he will study business. From there, he will transfer to a four-year college with a program in which he can study both business and design.
And when it comes time to apply for a job designing and selling the coolest sneakers ever, he can do so secure in the knowledge that he’s already on the inside track.