Mansfield, OH (April 18, 2023) – In 2008, GOAL Digital Academy launched a program to celebrate its potential graduates, which provided a luncheon for students and their families but also guided them to the finish line of earning their diplomas. This event was held at Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center for all students which allowed them to gather together in one location.
In 2018, as GOAL expanded, this event evolved to become what is now called "Senior Huddles" - a celebration that is spread out in all seven of GOAL’s learning lab locations to allow the diverse student population to attend in their specific area of residence. The GOAL Marketing Team determined the need to make this a traveling event, and have seen great success & growth each year in attendance.
“We went from having 30-75 students in attendance in previous years to a record of over 100 students attending in 2023, this is a massive event for our district and as educators, we are so excited to participate each year.” explained Casey Clark, Marketing Manager and Teacher for GOAL Digital Academy. "At the event, students have a checklist and they walk through different stations to meet with staff members to determine what they need in the final weeks before graduation, in addition to some special stations to celebrate their success!"
At the event, students have a checklist and they walk through different stations to meet with staff members to determine what they need in the final weeks before graduation, in addition to some special stations to celebrate their success!
Students are fitted for their cap and gown for a formal senior photograph, then interviewed for a graduation video allowing them to share their successes and experience with GOAL. Guidance Counselors, Educational Advocates, and the Credit Recovery specialists meet with individual students to check coursework progress and establish a catch-up plan, when needed.
Student Service Club representatives & GOAL Transition Coordinator, Chelsea Lee also meet with the students to discuss job searching, registering to vote, verifying their graduation seals as well as their future plans, and establishing a contact connection allowing staff to follow-up with their activities post-graduation.
Principal and Director of Technology, Jeff Grimmett, explains, “Although we are celebrating our potential graduates success, we also utilize this opportunity to ensure that all of our students are supported and feeling confident in finishing out their senior year. My technology team meets with students to verify our equipment is working properly for them, and make sure they have access to everything they need to finish the year strong!”
Student families are encouraged to attend the event to complete a parent survey and pick up all of the senior goodies provided as a gift to GOAL seniors: senior shirts, yard signs, and graduation announcements.
First time Senior Huddle attendee Shawn Rose, who is a new teacher at GOAL this year said, "This was my first Senior Huddle at GOAL, and I didn't know what to expect, but I loved what I saw more and more as the day progressed. One of my students and his classmates were congratulated at each station for a job well done by staff members, not just teachers, but our entire GOAL family. There was a sense of belonging, accomplishment, relief, and happiness all throughout the day, and the words of encouragement and praise for the students were plentiful. After working with this specific student this year, I was invested in his progress and success and was honored and humbled when he revealed that he wanted me to give him his diploma at graduation. This entire school year, capped off by his asking me to hand him his diploma, has reminded me of what it feels like to be a teacher and why I got into teaching in the first place. It means so much to me to be a part of such a wonderful family of people that care about kids. I love working at GOAL.”