These high school students were afraid to dream bigger. A Stanford class is changing that mindset.
The Stanford class of 2022, which will begin next school year at the high school in Oakland, California, and continue at the high school in San Jose, California, is challenging students to push the boundaries of the traditional high school experience, according to a Stanford University press release.
According to a description, the first two weeks of the class are designed to promote intellectual discussion and give students the opportunity to practice speaking publicly in front of an audience of peers. After a two-week “breathing room” break, students will return to their regular high school lives and be given a greater workload. In addition, the students will have time for a project they developed during the two-week “breathing room,” which will be reviewed in their final class with their teachers.
The class is the result of the Stanford’s “Dreams at the Edge” initiative, which has a stated goal of empowering students to take control of their dreams. The program, which was implemented in the 2015-16 school year with the help of a $3.5 million scholarship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, gave graduating seniors in the class the opportunity to participate in what amounts to a summer program to inspire them to develop their leadership skills.
The Stanford class of 2022 is not the first to take on the challenge. The class of 2015, which had a similar focus, was the most successful in terms of student learning and graduation rates, although only about half of its students ultimately completed the program.
“They’re going to be the ones with the confidence to go out and speak to their peers, not just say smart things on stage or to teachers, but to tell people that ‘You can be anything,'” said Katie Smith, a freshman psychology major and the executive director of the Stanford Dreamers campaign, which provided the $3.5 million scholarship that funded the class.
For young adults to enter a field or industry that is constantly changing, those who attend college or even graduate high school at a young age are often faced with