From Project SUCCESS Alumni:
"You were a great role model in my young life, lending me strength and offering me foresight to push past a dark legacy"..."all those hours of tutoring ACT, discussing Guthrie shows, and participating in college tours were not in vain. Those activities were instrumental in my young life, inspiring me to dream big and reach far. You took a risk, believed in me, and ultimately gave me the motivation and confidence to grow into the person I'm so happy to be today."
- North High School and University of Minnesota Graduate
Read more of the e-mail to Adrienne Diercks, Executive Director, here.
"Their ability to believe in me transferred into the ability to believe in myself. Not only did I have the time of my life testing my capacity to act, sing, dance and perform, but I gained self-confidence and still apply skills that I learned in those three years every day. My Project SUCCESS story about confidence and dream-making is not unique. I have witnessed the inspiring work that they have done, and continue to do, for so many other students."
- Anwatin Middle School and Southwest High School Graduate, and University of Minnesota Student
"When I first entered high school, I hated school, actually got an F and had no intention of going to college whatsoever. I thought because my parents were so poor, and nobody had been to college before, that I couldn't even get in. When I received an F in math, I told one of the Project SUCCESS leaders, and she helped me raise my grade the following semester. From then on, I received A's in high school. You guys seriously made me feel like I could do anything I wanted. "
- Christina Oey, North High School and University of Minnesota Graduate
From Educators, Administrators, and Community Leaders:
“We know that 70% of students are going to need post-secondary education. One of the important skills that Project SUCCESS develops in students is their planning. It is built right into the curriculum. So many of those skills – communication, being able to analyze and think critically – really are key to having a successful workforce in the future. Project SUCCESS is something that should be scaled statewide. It’s that powerful.”
– Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota Commissioner of Education
“Project SUCCESS has been a critical link in our efforts to nurture the talents of Minneapolis’ next generation. Their long record of success, innovation and compassion has yielded great results that are seen in the corridors of our schools and neighborhoods of our city every day. Project SUCCESS is an exceptional partner to me in my work and I strongly encourage everyone to give them their support.”
-R.T. Rybak, Former Mayor, City of Minneapolis
"The Minneapolis Public Schools has prioritized the development of non-cognitive skills and academic behaviors in students in order to keep more students on track for on-time graduation and post-secondary success. Project SUCCESS is an important partner with MPS in this work. Their programming complements the work of teachers and counselors by enriching the core curriculum and creating long-term relationships with students over seven years. A student's success isn't guaranteed by knowledge or skill alone. Research confirms that the best predictor of academic success is a combination of academic achievement and academic behavior. Project SUCCESS programming positively impacts academic behaviors, engagement and achievement, leading to on-time graduation and increased post-secondary readiness."
- Bernadeia Johnson, Superintendent, Minneapolis Public Schools
“The goals of Project SUCCESS align with and complement our district's Strategic Plan for Continued Excellence. We see Project SUCCESS' program of blending in-class goal-setting workshops, theater experiences, and one-on-one contact with students and their families as a unique opportunity to empower our students and help them think about and act on their futures. Together with Project SUCCESS, our shared goal is to provide students with the tools they need to become successful, self-reliant and caring community members.”
-Valeria S. Silva, Superintendent, Saint Paul Public Schools
"A teacher's primary role in students' development is delivering academic content. Partnering with Project SUCCESS helps us develop the student's inner content. Project SUCCESS focuses on the student, providing time, space and support for students to think about themselves, what they want out of life, who they hope to be and how they are going to get there. It builds on what we're already doing in the schools, and then it builds on what they are going to do after school."
-Casey Briskin, English Teacher, Southwest High School
"I believe that in order for students to be successful, they need an adult who believes in them and an adult with whom they can connect. Through the musical, Project SUCCESS provides hundreds of opportunities for students to connect with adults who care. The students of Anwatin are better off because of Project SUCCESS. I am a better teacher because of Project SUCCESS. I love that my students have exposure to caring people and great theater experiences and I fully support Project SUCCESS and their work."
-Sarah Walquist, Teacher, Anwatin Middle School
"Project SUCCESS makes the classroom a place dedicated to the visions and futures of children in ways it is difficult for a teacher alone to accomplish. This is the aspect I am most thankful for...a service I never allowed myself to anticipate because it is so ideal, so perfectly aligned with the needs of our children."
-George Roberts, First English Teacher Partner, North High School, Minneapolis
“Students have an opportunity to engage in a great workshop once a month with a highly skilled facilitator that gets to know them on a one-to-one level. The workshops are really well developed according to the development of the student and the psychology level of where they’re at and what they need. A variety of skills are really honed and refined when Project SUCCESS comes in and works with the students – their ability to communicate with each other, sharing responsibility of getting a job done, a sense of resiliency, and being able to overcome some difficult situations they’re dealing with outside the classroom or school and they come and are able to embrace with a sense of humor. I thought, it sounds too good to be true. How can a program offer this many great opportunities for students? And really, this is one of the situations in my career that I really do see it all pulling together.”
- Regina Gates, English Teacher, Patrick Henry High School, Minneapolis
“Project SUCCESS’ classroom workshops help our students develop tools for self-reflection, community- building and goal-setting and their professional theater experiences inspire, challenge, and spark dialogue and offer important artistic opportunities for our students and their families. As a result of Project SUCCESS’ work each month in and outside of the classroom, kids build more adult and peer support, more self-understanding, and more life skills critical to their development – helping us as educators increase student engagement, motivation, and creative-thinking and build a stronger, more supportive school environment; one that nurtures each student’s academic and life success.”
– Michael Bradley, Principal, Roosevelt High School
"Project SUCCESS is filling a void in the lives of young people, a serious void that must be filled in order that our students can look forward to meaningful, productive lives."
-Cheryl Creecy, Former Deputy Superintendent, Minneapolis Public Schools
“Project SUCCESS helped to bring the Mu Performing Arts Stories Program to our students. MPA created a fun, supportive and caring atmosphere where my students could share their stories. I heard loud and proud voices coming from students who were often quiet in the ELL classroom and always silent in their mainstream classes. These kids spoke about themselves and I believe that helps to make the difficult and long transition process to a new culture and world something they can begin to understand. They are given a chance to see themselves, and to understand that they are doing a difficult thing with great bravery. Bravo Theater Mu! And thank you, Project SUCCESS!”
- Nathan Morphew, ELL teacher, Battle Creek Middle School
From Theater Partners:
“Project SUCCESS is the most innovative and exciting education project in the country. It’s led by a visionary – Adrienne Diercks – and its contribution to this community cannot be calculated because it’s more than just the sum of its different parts. As a whole, what it’s doing is giving the young people that it serves a sense of identity, a sense of hope, and a sense the future is bright. And for any program that does that for young people is a program that I think is inspirational.”
-Joe Dowling, Director, Guthrie Theater
"I am absolutely delighted to have the privilege of welcoming thousands of Project SUCCESS students and their families to the Guthrie each year. It is especially gratifying for me personally to know and to trust that the experiences these students have at the Guthrie become the seed for their own imaginations to take over – and are put to use for thoughtful and careful planning of their own lives."
-Sheila Livingston, Director of Artistic Relations, Guthrie Theater
“Without Project SUCCESS, Mu Performing Arts would not have access to schools and classrooms. Project SUCCESS has a strong relationship with the public school system and a trust has been built with school staff. Without the foundation that Project SUCCESS brings, we would not have the time or resources to establish similar relationships. Our Stories program began as a collaboration with Project SUCCESS and continues to succeed because of this partnership.”
-Sara Ochs, Mu Performing Arts
From A Volunteer:
"Being a volunteer for Project Success is one of the most satisfying volunteer opportunities for me. I like connecting with students during the drive to events and sitting with them. Sometimes it is just one or two students, sometimes it is a whole family. It has been interesting to meet students/families of various nationalities and cultures. We are all part of the North-side Mpls neighborhood, so it is good to meet the kids who will be tomorrow’s adults in my area. I try to bring a positive experience into their lives, sitting with an me as an adult, having conversation, and sometimes seeing them dressing up for a special play or event. I have to say I have been quite by surprised by each and every student I have met. I think they are going to be quiet, or bored...... yet every time I see them enjoy something 'new', and they open up we have some wonderful conversations. They are as surprised by me as I am by them. Project Success is something special in ALL our lives."
- Lynne Young, Volunteer driver for over 5 years
From Our Students:
“With Project SUCCESS we talk about things like our dreams, our goals, and our community. It’s a program that pushes you and helps you succeed, helps you set goals. Through Project SUCCESS, I was able to make friends in new situations. Today I think I could possibly be a writer or maybe even a teacher or an actor or a singer…I never had those ideas before.” - Rudy, 8th Grader, Anwatin Middle School
- Rudy, 8th Grader, Anwatin Middle School
"Project SUCCESS helped me really figure out my dreams and how to achieve them."
"I went from C's to B's."
"It helped me feel better about myself."
"They taught me to let my voice be heard."
"Project SUCCESS incorporated important information with really fun activities. I looked forward to Project SUCCESS days."
"Project SUCCESS helped me feel like I could do what I wanted to and made me feel a lot better about college."
"Project SUCCESS was the first 'group of people' that made me put my goals on paper and made them a lot more realistic for me."
"I enjoyed the books for looking at careers. That really motivated me."
"I actually took it into my own hands and changed my future."
"It's fun, informational, and gives us a chance to make our own decisions for our future."
"It helps you out and gets you ready, not scared...ready to go."
"Project SUCCESS helped me focus on my goals and stay with it."
"Project SUCCESS helped me to not feel so overwhelmed and know I can get it all done."
"Project SUCCESS inspired me to research colleges, where I first heard of St. Thomas, where they took me on a tour, where I was accepted. They helped and encouraged me to find scholarships; I will now be attending St. Thomas for free because of the City of Minneapolis scholarship."
"Project SUCCESS believes in me."
"Project SUCCESS taught me everything I know."
"Project SUCCESS showed me that in order to survive I need an education."
"Project SUCCESS opened me to new possibilities."
"Project SUCCESS helped me by doing activities to help me set my mind to do my dream."
"What I like about Project SUCCESS are the class activities, which are really fun and I have a great time."
"What I like best about Project SUCCESS is when we play games and learn more about yourself and other people from different cultures."
"Project SUCCESS helped me set goals and inspire me to reach them."
"Project SUCCESS said never give up on your dreams."
"Project SUCCESS helped me to get along with others better."