A big, bright, black and yellow box – that’s what high school teens were talking about Wednesday night at the Caldwell Night Rodeo.
“I walked through the big black box and got inspired,” said Ali Gilbert, a freshman at Vallivue High School. “I was told I could do anything I want, if I set my mind to it.”
What is this black and yellow box? It’s a “More In Store” pop-up experience for teens. The J.A. Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the variety of educational opportunities beyond high school. The campaign is to entice teens — not adults — to start planning for life after graduation.
“We believe that learning happens anywhere at any time – that also means after high school,” said Nick Groff of the J.A. Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. “We want to inspire kids to learn after high school.”
The Foundation is ditching its “Go-On” awareness campaign that funded programs in multiple Idaho schools for seven years.
“Essentially, Go On ran its course,” Groff said. “This new route is aimed directly at teens, based on at least a year’s worth of market research, focus groups and what did and didn’t work with the Go On campaign. We hope this speaks to teens better.”
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With both campaigns, the foundation is attempting to tackle one of Idaho’s biggest problems: the low number of teens who pursue some form of education or training after high school. According to data released in July by the State Board of Education, 50.2 percent of Idaho’s class of 2014 were enrolled in a two- or four-year college 12 months after graduating high school.
For five years, Idaho lawmakers, Gov. Butch Otter and education policymakers have touted a 60 percent go-on goal. They want to see 60 percent of Idaho’s 25- to 34-year-olds earn a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020.
How does the box work?
- You must be between the ages of 15 and 18 to enter the box.
- When students walk through, they are asked what they are passionate about, and what type of life they want to live.
- Students then get the opportunity to write an inspirational message to themselves. That message will be mailed to them within the next few months – to motivate them during the school year.
- When the students exit the box, they get to pick out a can full of swag – yellow sunglasses, a bag, keychain and possibly an iPad.
“This is a different idea and approach. This campaign is speaking to teens in a different way – we aren’t talking at them, we are talking to them and telling them what they can do,” Groff said.
In the next decade, more than 60 percent of Idaho jobs will require some form of higher education. With only half of Idaho students pursuing post-secondary education, the foundation wants to raise the go-on rate.
“I found out about the box through social media. After going through, I’m pumped to go beyond what I’m expected to do this school year,” said Kyle Jerome, a senior at Caldwell High School. “It’s a cool experience and it made me think about what I want to do after high school.”
Where is the box headed next?
- Western Idaho Fair, Boise – Aug. 21-23.
- North Idaho Fair and Rodeo, Coeur d’Alene – Aug. 28-30.
- Eastern Idaho State Fair, Blackfoot – Sept. 5-7.
For more information about “more in store” click here.
Disclosure: Idaho Education News is funded through a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.