SCCTC Students Start Their Year with the Challenge Program, Inc.

With the academic school year underway for Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation began its third installment of The Challenge Program (TCP), a unique platform designed to enrich the academic and personal lives of SCCTC students.

The Challenge Program, mission is to partner with businesses to motivate high school students both in and out of the classroom. This partnership creates good habits in students and provides businesses with tangible results for their investments.

Cabot has proudly funded TCP at SCCTC over the last two school years. It has even decided to expanded its outreach of the program in the region, funding a similar campaign at West Side Career & Technology Center in Luzerne County, earlier this year.

TCP motivates and encourages 10th, 11th and 12th grade students to develop a good work ethic and professional qualities by challenging students to improve within five core areas: perfect attendance, academic excellence, academic improvement, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and community services.

Students are introduced to TCP and the five focus categories during an inaugural presentation early in the school year. During this presentation a TCP professional also introduces the corporate sponsor(s) of the program and conducts a live learning event for the whole class to watch.

At the conclusion of the event, TCP incentivizes student participation with the announcement of cash awards for the students who excel in each core category ($200 per category). Unlike other competitions, there is no entry form or fee to participate. All students present for the presentation are automatically enrolled in the program.

To keep the program relevant, teachers and guidance staff are given materials to remind students and encourage that the extra step could win them a serious cash prize at the end of the year. The corporate sponsor(s) of the program is encouraged to visit the school regularly and engage with students in mock interview, classroom presentation and field trips.

The Challenge Program designed this year’s live learning event to be a mock interview with the corporate sponsor being the interviewer. Prior to the event, the school selected 5 students to participate in the interview. Each student was given a script and directions to demonstrate to the audience each of the five focus areas mentioned before. Here is breakdown of each interviewee:

  • Student 1 – Arrives late to the interview and when asked about his history of attendance during this school year he replies: “I’ve missed 10 days of school but I’m pretty smart and still getting good grades.”
  • Student 2 – Starts describing his technological abilities before answering his cellphone during the interview.
  • Student 3 – Implies that community services isn’t really his thing and that he much rather spend his free time hanging with friends.
  • Students 4 & 5 excel during the interview and hired for the job with an opportunity for one to get a promotion and a company car. The moderator asks each student about academic excellence and going the extra mile for the job. The audience then decides who deserves the promotion.

More about The Challenge Program

  • To date, TCP has awarded $2,486,720 to students across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia.
  • Since its inception in 2003, the program was been introduced to over 465,000 students.
  • During the 2013/14 school year, the program was presented to approximately 61,000 students in 122 high schools.
  • TCP is endorsed by several high growth industries including energy.
  • The program has received major grant support from the Benedum Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, PNC Charitable Trust Foundation, and the EQT Foundation.

Program Impact

The impact The Challenge Program, Inc. makes on the lives of high school students can be read in the countless letters we receive from our award winners. In addition to these testimonials, we have been able to capture live feedback from high school students and educators participating in the program through an online survey. The 2,736 student responses collected for the 2012-2013 school year showed staggering support for the program:

91% of students believe “The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its goal in motivating students to strive for academic excellence.”

90% of students believe “The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its goal in motivating students to improve academically.”

83% of students believe “The Challenge Program, Inc. motivates students to strive for improved attendance.”

78% of students believe “The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its goal in encouraging students to participate in community service/service learning.”

92% of students “would recommend The Challenge Program, Inc. to a school that does not have it yet.”

If you’re interested in being a volunteer or if you’re a business looking to sponsors a school contact The Challenge Programhere.

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Bill desRosiers

Raised in Highland Falls, New York, William desRosiers learned about responsible resource development, firsthand, as a part of his family's mining business. William received his B.S. in Management, B.A.in History and MBA from Misericordia University. He currently serves in External Affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. His primary responsibilities include strengthening media relationships, managing company-run fundraising programs, building better community relations and representing Cabot every chance he has.

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