Future 5, a nonprofit that works with disconnected high school students in Stamford to connect them to a better and sustainable education and career path, held their Annual Graduation & Celebration Monday, June 16, at the Old Town Hall in Stamford.
42 seniors who are graduating from Westhill, Stamford and Trinity Catholic high schools in Stamford graduated from Future 5’s ‘College Prep’ program. The class of 2014 is Future 5’s fifth graduating class and many students have been members of the organization since their sophomore year. 11 students will be attending Norwalk Community College in the fall. 24 have committed to attend four-year schools including Cooper Union in New York, Univ. of Mass., Elon in NC, UCONN, Southern Eastern and Western in CT, and Lynn University in FL. Seven students are undecided as to their college or trade school choice at this time.
“The future is important. There is a path to success. And Future 5 shows these students the best way to an affordable education,” said Clif McFeely, founder and director of Future 5. Currently serving 100 members, Future 5 works to instill a can-do attitude by teaching the importance of resilience, grit, optimism, follow-through, and integrity. The organization’s philosophy and community strengthens a student’s self-esteem through character building workshops, job and college preparation programs and one-on-one coaching.
Shahearn Philemon and Guelory Brutus were the featured senior graduation speakers and both of them will be attending UCONN, Stamford this fall. Each student shared their high school challenges and what their Future 5 experience has meant to them.
“Future 5’s number one goal is to help students graduate from high school and move on to a successful path towards college, trade school, military or full-time job by ensuring that each of our students develop the self esteem, motivation and game plan necessary to be successful in school and life,” said Polly Perkins Johnson, Future 5’s chairman of the board and New Canaan resident.
Since its founding in 2009, 99% of Future 5 students have graduated from high school. Stamford’s high school graduation rate is approximately 75%; 47% among Hispanics and 55% among African-Americans. Each class of high school dropouts costs the state an estimated $84 million/year.
28 volunteer coaches from Stamford and New Canaan worked directly with this graduating class throughout the entire school year. The volunteers along with Future 5 staff offer motivated students the opportunity for membership in a caring community with a life-altering network of ongoing support. Dinosaur BBQ in Stamford, CT donated food for the Future 5 Graduation & Celebration.