New Community Connections Day at Renaissance Public School Academy

What happened: Renaissance Public School Academy hosted a brand-new event entitled Community Connections Day the morning of Wednesday, March 1. 

The event brought community career professionals and educators together for a meet-and-greet with about 200 5th-8th graders attending Renaissance Academy. Students had the opportunity to visit the tables of various presenters and learn about their careers, passions, and hobbies while practicing their networking skills. 

(Photo courtesy of Rachel Brandeberry)The event was organized by Renaissance Academy teacher and instructional coach, Rachel Brandeberry. “This event all started as a big dream to give students more exposure to careers, interests, and hobbies,” Brandeberry said.

She continued, “Our students at Renaissance conduct individual projects during the school year, but a lot of them don’t know where to start. We wanted to put on this event as a way to support their curiosity within their projects, but also their lives.”

Throughout the course of an hour-and-a-half, students were able to visit presenters, ask questions, create connections with them, and explore various careers.

(Photo courtesy of Rachel Brandeberry)Who was there: 19 presenters at the event were professionals from a variety of careers including a police detective, hair stylist, dog trainer, graphic designer, and martial arts instructor. 

“Not only were the students able to speak to the presenters, but a lot of them brought in equipment from their jobs for the kids to interact with,” Brandeberry continued, “We even had a neuroscientist who brought in brain slices!” 

What they are saying: Students and teachers alike shared in the excitement of this original event. According to Brandeberry, teachers have been expressing how thankful they are that students are able to have this unique opportunity. 

“I’ve had so many teachers say how lucky the kids are to be able to participate in this event and how amazing it is that we’re able to give them this opportunity,” said Brandeberry. 

Students were so excited for the event, that some even volunteered to help set up the event during their snow day on Tuesday.

“This is a new experience for them, and they’re just so excited about it. All week leading up to the event, so many students stopped me to say how they couldn't wait for Wednesday,” Brandeberry shared.

Why it’s important: According to Brandeberry, a major goal of this event was to bridge the gap between students and the community.

“Students can’t grow to their full potential only behind school walls. Community support enriches students and will help them in their future after they leave school,” Brandeberry commented. 

For older students, Renaissance hopes that this new Community Connections Day inspires them to seek out new opportunities and think about what they are capable of as young adults. 

Brandeberry said, “For students like our 8th graders, high school isn’t that far away. We’re hoping to give them connections within the community now.” She added enthusiastically, “Who knows, maybe they’ll want to work for some of these presenters one day!”

(Photo courtesy of Rachel Brandeberry)For younger students, Brandeberry and Renaissance Public School Academy’s goal is to expose them to a community and world they might not have known existed–and dream big about their futures. 

“We want to introduce our younger students to a community they may have not even known existed. There are so many great opportunities right here in Mt. Pleasant, and by exposing them to that, we hope it helps them dream big about who they are and what they can do in the future.”

Brandeberry hopes to make this an annual event, stating that the goal is to help as many students as possible unlock their full potential.
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Adison Reder is a student at Central Michigan University. She is studying English and Political Science with a focus in Creative Writing. She enjoys writing about LGBTQ+ Rights, American Political Happenings, and Women’s Rights Advocacy. In addition to writing, her smaller passions include coffee, dogs, and collecting vinyl records. You can contact Adison at