How Connections at Jefferson High School prepare kids

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Jefferson High School in Sioux Falls will open its doors for the first time on August 26, but some students have already earned credit through a program that concluded on Tuesday called Connections. Keiry Diaz and Cameron Renken will start their freshmen year at Jefferson in northwest Sioux Falls; both also took part in this program.

“It was a lot of fun,” Renken said. “I met new people that I probably wouldn’t have talked to if I didn’t come to Connections, and the last two weeks, there’s been a lot of things we’ve done.”

“Well personally I felt nervous the first few days because I really didn’t know anybody besides like two people, but as the days went on and we did activities, at the end of the day I got to meet new people and now I’m going to leave Connections having more friends,” Diaz said.

Connections is about facilitating leadership. Todd Novak, freshman academy coordinator at Jefferson, leads the program.

“Connections is a 10-day camp during the summer,” Novak said. “Its purpose is a leadership camp really to equip 70 kids, 60 to 70 kids to be ready to start high school well.”

Kids who complete the program get an elective half credit. This time, it carries a unique distinction for this building.

“Right now they’re getting a certificate that says first credit ever at Jefferson High School, and so we think it’s pretty cool,” Novak said.

High school can be imposing. Novak says this brings resolution.

“They now have fewer fears than when they started,” Novak said. “So when you start high school and you walk in a new building, particularly like this which is just very large and amazing, there’s a lot of concerns, like where is this, what do I do, how do I fit in, I think we’ve answered a lot of those questions for them.”

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