Learning from Students: Past and Present

December 20, 2023

The fall trimester of the Project Success Institute certificate classes, including Baking, Bike Tech, Coding, Girls with Impact, and Money Management, concluded in December. The recurring theme of this trimesters’ programs has been learning from our students – past and present!

The certificate sessions took place in the newly renovated Institute at Project Success headquarters, where students experienced not only significantly larger square footage for their classroom, but carefully curated enhancements based on their feedback. The Project Success Institute offers students a dedicated prayer/quiet space, increased natural lighting, new dishwashers, additional sinks, and five ovens for the newly imagined Baking Certificate. See below for fall highlights!

At the Project Success Institute students engage in certificates and programs that build critical life and career skills that enrich one’s independence. Participating in certificates led by diverse and experienced content experts satisfies students’ interests and provides relevant skills for the future – giving students a jump start into the world of working and being!

Each school year, Project Success hosts certificates in the fall, winter, and spring open to all Minneapolis public high school students. Certificates are free and transportation and food are provided for students.

Highlights from the Fall Trimester:

Baking – Rising Dough…and Confidence!

This trimester, students teamed up with local professional chefs to learn the fundamentals of baking. Among the professionals, Jaden Scott became the first current student to assume the role of Guest Baker at our Baking Certificate. Jaden, who serves as the Head Baker at the student-led Green Garden Bakery in Heritage Park, Minneapolis, guided his peers through the creation of Green Garden’s Vegan Beet Brownies.  

Bike Tech – Rolling Beyond Repairs with Community-Building Rides

In this trimester’s Bike Tech Lab at Project Success, Bike Professor Nica Taylor led six dynamic workshops on bike repair. The program went beyond the workshop setting, introducing a weekly “slow roll” bike ride around the neighborhood. This unique addition not only enhanced bike repair skills but also fostered community building and boosted participants’ confidence in navigating the city on two wheels.

Coding – Coding with Current Students and Alumni

Fueled by a passion for video games, PS Alumna, Tanavia’s journey began in high school with our Coding Certificate in which she excelled, completing the program multiple times. This dedication propelled her to the University of Minnesota’s Computer Science program where she is now a senior and serves as a Teaching Assistant. Earlier this trimester, Tanavia returned to the Institute to talk to students about her journey and coach them on their coding projects.  

Si Guntzel, current Roosevelt student and graduate of the Coding Certificate at Project Success, now serves as a Student Coach for the program. Having completed the program multiple times, Si joins Coding Leader Ray Lauffer and Senior Curriculum Manager James Rone weekly to co-develop projects and lessons. His commitment showcases not only his coding expertise but also his dedication to mentoring and enhancing the learning experience for his peers. 

Money Management – Tailored Learning for Financial Empowerment

Project Success revamped its Money Management certificate this trimester, offering students a personalized financial journey. Finance Expert Brandy Siddiqui and volunteer Financial Advisor Katie Kelbrants returned alongside Facilitator Heather Nielsen and new volunteer Bilal Abdelquader. The class was divided into three segments: Income & Taxes, Banking, Credit & Budgeting, and Planning for Your Future. This tailored approach empowers students to delve into specific financial aspects, providing a comprehensive and flexible learning experience.

Girls with Impact

At the online graduation for Girls with Impact, students shared their presentations on the business plans they created this semester. One student shared that they would be selling their product at a craft market! Another student shared their business proposal of a non-profit organization. All of the students were very passionate about the work that they put into their presentations.

Ten students graduated this trimester making for a total of 39 students completing this 10-week program in 2023.

Beyond the Classroom

It’s exciting to see students enjoying the new Institute facilities with these certificates and to be learning from current students and alumni! Each trimester we celebrate our students unlocking their potential and learning about these new areas while exploring their passions to create the life they want. We are so grateful that students continue to work with us to create a community of learning and new friendships, and we look forward to the institute classes starting in January 2024! 

Learn more about the Project Success Institute and register for Winter Trimester certificates here: https://www.projectsuccess.org/high-school/institute/