Scholar Voice: A behind the scenes look

Each year at Steppingstone I have attended the College Readiness Conference and participated in the activities and workshops designed for my specific grade.

Steppingstone staff setting up for conference registration

This year was the first time I experienced it from the perspective of a Peer Leader. Before the conference began, the Peer Leaders joined the Steppingstone staff on a walkthrough of day’s schedule. We proceeded to set up the workshops and organized certain spaces behind-the-scenes. The behind-the-scenes work was very interesting because it gave me an appreciation for what goes into putting on a conference. I set up binders for the 9th graders in the upper cafeteria and was reminded of my own 9th grade workshop from year’s past. Before I knew it were at the keynote portion of the conference.

I really enjoyed the keynote speaker’s presentation because it was beneficial to see her ambition that stems back to her younger years and how it has gotten her to where she is today.

Conference attendees listening to the alumni keynote speaker (Shaina Gilbert ‘00)

After setup and the keynote I transitioned to attending the actual workshops themselves. The first workshop I attended was designed for juniors. In this workshop, I learned specifically about planning junior year in relation to applying for college. I worked with 20 other Scholars in creating a timeline that would eventually lead us to success including taking exams, going on college tours and more. The workshop gave me a sense of when I need to start focusing on the different aspects of the application and what colleges consider in applicants. The end of the workshop led into a refreshment break where the Peer Leaders, along with Mr. Robinson and Mr. Kuljancic, set up a high school panel in the gym.

The exciting part was that the Peer Leaders were the panelists! This experience gave me the chance to reflect on the different ways I learned to balance schoolwork while still managing extracurricular activities.

Steppingstone Middle School Scholars at one of their workshops

The conference ultimately enabled me to reflect on my past experiences as a Scholar. I was able to work on my leadership responsibilities throughout the day. As a Scholar seeking more exposure to college, I always know there are advice, lessons, and takeaways that I can bring back to school and have influence my work. As a Peer Leader, the highlights were my contribution to the keynote program and the high school panel.

I strongly encourage you to consider attending next year’s conference because you never know what opportunities await you.

About the Author:

Hi everyone! My name is Ifrah and I have been a part of Steppingstone since 2012. I live in Boston and I currently attend Meridian Academy as an 11th grader. As a peer leader, what I am looking forward to the most is becoming a mentor for Steppingstone Scholars and assisting staff at SMASH. As the year progresses, I hope to learn or develop skills such as leadership and responsibility. I also hope to establish a tight relationship with the Steppingstone community.