Boys & Girls Club Blog

Our BE GREAT: Graduate Program Creates Great Futures for Teens

January 4, 2023

We are very proud of how our BE GREAT: Graduate Program has grown over this last year. 100% of our teens graduated in 2022, and we are currently up to 63 teens participating in this program! The Club has three Graduate & Career Coordinators who work within the Oshkosh public high schools and are available at school all day. Coordinators Tim Lange and Jed Carlson work with teens at Oshkosh North High School, and coordinator Jessica McKenna works with teens at Oshkosh West High School.

The BE GREAT: Graduate Program has two main goals. The first and most important objective of this program is to ensure that all of our teens graduate from high school. Second, our coordinators work with teens to help them create a plan for after graduation. That could be attending a four-year university or technical school, entering the military or workforce, or another goal for their future. Helping students explore their options and interests is one of my favorite parts. It is such a privilege to watch them grow. 

During my time as a coordinator of the program, I’ve been able to watch some of my freshmen and sophomores go from not caring about their futures to growing into juniors and seniors who are now taking ownership and great pride in planning for their futures. A great example is our 2023 Youth of the Year, Savana. When we began working together, she wasn’t getting her homework in on time and was struggling with her mental health due to the pandemic. Through hard work and perseverance, she managed to get her grades on track and make a great plan for her future which includes the goal of  becoming a counselor and in her words, “helping people become the best version of themselves.” We are very proud of how far Savana has come!

This year we added a new opportunity to the program by offering a BE GREAT: Graduate Scholarship. Beginning in 2023, graduating seniors of the BE GREAT: Graduate program can apply for a $1000 scholarship to go toward the college or technical school of their choice. To be considered, teens must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Have been in the BE GREAT: Graduate program for at least two consecutive years
  • Graduate from high school
  • Have a minimum 2.70 GPA 
  • Be accepted into a post-secondary education program
  • Have attended 75% of Be Great Graduate meetings when in the program
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from their BE GREAT: Graduate coordinator and a teacher 

This year’s application is due February 15th, 2023. Teens who are interested can contact their BE GREAT: Graduate Coordinator or the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh to fill out a scholarship application form and write a personal statement.

It is a truly amazing experience to watch our youth work hard and explore their passions. For me, it is a privilege to work with these kids every day and see the hard work they are putting in. We are excited to see how the BE GREAT: Graduate continues to grow and help improve the lives of our teens!

By Tim Lange
Graduate & Career Coordinator
at Oshkosh North High School

Thank you to the Taco Bell Foundation, Theda & Tamblin Clark Smith Family Foundation, and Oshkosh Area United Way for helping make this program possible.