USFSM Hosts Take Stock in Children’s College Prep Workshop


Take Stock in Children of Sarasota (TSIC) and USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) are embarking on a College Readiness Passport Program for juniors and seniors in high school, to ensure that they are prepared for college success when they graduate.

The year-long College Readiness Passport Program will be launched at a workshop being held at USFSM on September 7 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Selby Auditorium. One hundred Sarasota County juniors and seniors are expected to attend, along with mentors and college success coaches. For seniors, the program will culminate in a Celebration of Hope Graduation event.  The plan is to make this workshop an annual event.  “Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County has proven that with the help of our mentors and our local schools our students can graduate from high school, “ said Lisa Bechtold, executive director. “ Through our partnership with USFSM we will now ensure successful graduation from a post-secondary school.”

The primary goal of the Take Stock in Children mentoring and scholarship program is to help at-risk, low income students graduate from high school and receive pre-paid, post-secondary  scholarships. But the ultimate result is that they learn to set, work toward, and reach their own goals, gaining hope and confidence. Using new skills, education and networks, they can break the cycle of poverty.

USF Sarasota-Manatee is committed to creating successful career paths for four-year university students, and enrolled two Bradenton area Take Stock in Children graduates as part of its first freshman class in August 2013: Ariana Miraglia from Braden River High School and Davis Moeckel from Lakewood Ranch. Two Sarasota-area Take Stock in Children graduates, Rachel Warner and Danielle Hebert, both from North Port High School, attend USF Tampa as freshmen.

About the College Readiness Passport

USF Sarasota-Manatee Admissions Counselor and Adjunct Instructor Priscilla Goodwin-Serra developed the Passport while earning her master’s of education degree in Educational Leadership. She saw a need to provide high school students with guidance on college readiness, including instruction on the college search process, how to apply to college and how to be a strong applicant. “I noticed that many students fell through the cracks, not knowing what to do to prepare for college or who to see for help,” said Goodwin-Serra. “At the high schools, we had the resources to help these students, but the connections weren’t being made. The passport provides students with direction and incentives to keep them motivated.”