Aspire Outreach club featured on Spectrum News NY1


Courtesy of Rafal Olechowski

A collaboration between Townsend Harris High School, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School, the Aspire Outreach club gains traction as it aims to guide students in the high school admissions process.

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Earlier this month, the Aspire Outreach club at Townsend Harris High School made the news on Spectrum NY1 broadcasting their work regarding high school outreach initiatives for middle school students.

Aspire aims to aid middle school students in becoming more knowledgeable about different high schools and the general admissions process. Student speakers coach students in making well-informed decisions regarding the location, central focus, and special programs offered by different schools. Members of the club include students from a variety of other schools who work collaboratively to release online newsletters and host events.

This year, THHS became a “hub” in collaboration with the Aspire Outreach clubs at the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School for Queens middle schools. Once a month, the three schools meet to discuss new ideas and update each other on independent projects, and to talk to their partnered middle schools. The initiative is working on creating more branches for students in other boroughs.

Earlier in the year, Aspire visited Intermediate School 109 to speak to seventh and eighth graders interested in the transition from middle school to high school and the introduction of electives.

Aspire reached out to NY1 to further their outreach, and later sat down with Education Reporter Jillian Jorgensen. The channel streamed the media interview alongside an article.

THHS Aspire President Sophia Shi, who had sat down with Ms. Jorgensen for the interview, said that she hoped the coverage would help the initiative gain more “traction” and increase the “effectiveness” of their work.

“Going into broadcasting, I remember being a little stressed that the slides didn’t look nice enough 20 minutes before the presentation, so I was making last minute changes. I feel like everyone started relaxing more [during the meeting] and the atmosphere was generally less tense, so I was generally the same,” said junior Alison Li.

Middle school students were also part of the event, citing how Aspire had made them aware of different high school experiences.

Junior Briana Mach said, “The middle schoolers were not tense. They were laid-back and sitting on the couch. I was nervous, but once I forgot about the camera, I just went into normal presentation-mode, and felt really accomplished afterwards.”

“Hopefully the news coverage will help to increase interest in our program and help us gain a bigger audience…sometimes the communication with middle school administrators doesn’t always work out [for students],” Alison said.

“I think Aspire at its core is a community of people that want to make changes that are good for everyone,” said Sophia.

Currently, the club is looking to expand its membership and leadership board. “We are graduating next year, and we want to keep the program running in our school, so we want to encourage incoming freshmen and underclassmen to join Aspire.”

Upcoming events for the club include a high school information session for parents, which will be hosted at THHS on May 26 from 5 to 7 pm.