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MHS and SHS Students Build Connections with Rochester Students through ROCKidsConnect

Mendon and Sutherland High School students are participating in the ROCKidsCONNECT program this spring with students from Urban Choice Charter School (UCCS), a K-8 school in Rochester. This year’s group is the largest group of students participating in the program since ROCKidsCONNECT began in 2017.

Rochester Kids, a non-profit organization whose goal is to make a difference in the lives of Rochester youth and support students’ successes, established ROCKidsCONNECT. The initiative aims to enrich the lives of city and suburban youth through a local student exchange program in which students meet and learn from each other through participation in academic projects and diversity activities that promote cultural awareness.

This year’s program was kicked off during a Zoom meeting where students introduced themselves to the group. MHS, SHS and UCCS student participants and staff members, including PCSD Director of Student Services Dr. Patricia Vaughan-Brogan, PCSD Career and Community Service Coordinator Julie Wittig, MHS Math Teacher Maureen O’Neill, UCCS Co-Principal Michael Samuel and UCCS Dean of Students Carl Parris, attended the Zoom meeting.

Each student from UCCS has been partnered with two students from MHS or SHS. The groups meet virtually once per week to get to know each other and review academic assignments designed to prepare UCCS students for New York State assessments. All participants will come together virtually to participate in group sessions and activities over the next several weeks.

MHS and SHS students who have previously participated in ROCKidsCONNECT reflected on their experiences with the program and shared how the activities they participated in helped them to form connections and friendships.

PCSD Director of Student Services Dr. Patricia Vaughan-Brogan, who leads this group, shared her enthusiasm for the program. “We have many fun activities planned, not only academic, but also activities that will allow everyone to get to know more about each other. I’m looking forward to all the connections that will be made,” said Vaughan-Brogan.

UCCS Co-Principal Michael Samuel expressed his gratitude for the program and the remarkable partnerships it has created between UCCS and PCSD. “With ROCKidsCONNECT, we all get a chance to learn about each other and each other’s lifestyles,” said Samuel.