By JENNIFER OSBORN
On Thursday, June 6, 528 Helix Highlanders, donning caps and gowns, crossed the stage and accepted their diplomas, completing their four years of high school. Class valedictorians Luke Babbitt, Sarah Mauricio, Olivia Root, and Jocelyn WIlmore each addressed their classmates, giving advice, reliving memories, and expressing their hopes for the future. The Helix staff wishes the class of 2019 all the best as they pursue bright futures.
Helix support for foster youth
Fewer than 1 in 10 children growing up in foster care attend college. Only 1 in 100 graduate. These startling statistics are the driving force behind NFL quarterback Alex Smith’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of former foster youth. For the past 14 years, the mission of The Alex Smith Foundation (ASF) has been to provide foster teens with the with tools and resources needed to transition to successful adulthood by developing and promoting education, advocacy, mentoring, housing, internship and jobs programs.
As a result of ASF’s efforts, dozens of former foster youth have had the opportunity to attend, and graduate from, college. Ilyas Beltz is one of those. He entered the foster care system having experienced more trauma than any child should experience. After many failed placements in the system, he was finally placed with a family who was willing and able to support his many needs, and they ultimately adopted him. Through their incredible efforts, Beltz was able to overcome many of the obstacles in his path, graduating from Smith’s alma mater, Helix Charter High School, and continuing on to college.
The ASF has been an integral part of Beltz’s college journey. In 2018, ASF awarded Beltz with the Karen Martin Scholarship, providing him with $8,000 to attend California State University Northridge. At the Helix High School Foundation (HHSF) Highlander Open Golf Tournament at Carlton Oaks Country Club, ASF partnered with the HHSF to present Beltz with the scholarship for a second year to allow him to continue his education at Northridge.
“Our Helix High School Foundation motto is ‘It is never too late to give back’. We are honored to be part of the avenue through which a deserving young man like Ilyas is able to continue his education,” said HHSF president, Judy Kirk. “Alex was a huge part of Helix High School and we can’t thank him enough for supporting a fellow Highlander with his foundation scholarship again this year. We would also like to thank the family of Karen Martin for carrying on her memory in the work she loved.”
Beltz shared his story with donors and tournament participants to let them know how their efforts and involvement in each of the foundations have affected his life.
“We are pleased to award the Karen Martin Scholarship to Ilyas Beltz,” said Pam Smith, ASF board member. “Alex, a proud Helix High graduate, understands the importance of education. He has dedicated his foundation work and resources to help former foster youth achieve a college education in order to build a bridge to a successful life. Ilyas has shown his resilience and hard work to overcome huge obstacles to succeed and we are delighted to support him”
Honor roll award
The following is a message from Helix Executive Director Kevin Osborn:
On behalf of the Helix school community, I want to congratulate our students and entire staff! Our school was recently recognized as a 2018-2019 Educational Results Partnership (ERP) Honor Roll School for our high achievement in student success. The ERP Honor Roll program, sponsored by the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE), is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and districts that are improving student outcomes.
The 2018-2019 ERP Honor Roll utilizes public school student achievement data to identify successful schools and districts. Our school stands above others in the state because of our demonstrated ability to get students to grade-level achievement and beyond. Schools that receive the ERP Honor Roll distinction have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and a reduction in achievement gaps among student populations.
Through national research, ERP has identified a common set of success factors in higher-performing honor roll schools and districts. The work of the Helix staff is focused on these success factors that include clear, specific learning objectives aligned to college and career readiness, along with:
- Evidence-based instructional practices.
- A defined system-wide mission of college and career readiness for all students.
- An investment in human capital.
- Maintenance of data and assessment systems to monitor school and student performance.
- Resources and guidance to support schools’ efforts in preparing all students for college and career.
We did not apply for this award. Our results led them to us! Because of our accomplishment, we will be featured on the ERP Honor Roll website at edresults.org. To view our school’s data, please open the hyperlink, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on the “View Honor Roll Data” bar, and then filter by county (San Diego) and school (Helix High).
We are thankful for the hard work of our students, teachers, and staff here at Helix Charter High School. This recognition is a testament to the sustained focus on academic results and commitment to student success that our school and community have shown over the years.
— Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School.