10 days can really fly by!

We were fortunate enough to welcome many high school students to stay and learn at Winona State University! The H.O.P.E. (Harnessing Opportunities for Post-Secondary Education) Academy is a ten-day summer residential program for male and female high school students between the 9-12 grades.

The purpose of the Academy is to offer underrepresented and underserved students with a life-altering opportunity to fully experience college life.


Hope Academy Group Picture

Photo by Amy Nelson ’20


Many of the students who were at the academy were engaged in college-level courses, workshops, and trainings to develop, explore, and hone their leadership skills to be utilized in an ever-growing globalized society.

Students got to stay in our new halls, Kirkland and Haake, for the entirety of their 10-day program. Not only did this provide them with a unique opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a college on-campus resident, but it exemplified and solidified what students were learning throughout their 10-day program!

On top of this, our other campus facilities were being used for recreational purposes to create and develop relationships with peers and their college mentors!

A multitude of their programming took place in our Haake Hall Conference Room, which is conveniently right where students were residing.

On June 17,  the mentors arrived at 8:00am sharp in Haake’s Conference Room eager and prepared to learn about their new students and about themselves. Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life, Sarah Olcott, provided a few training sessions that paved the way for the college mentors to discover more about themselves and working with others.

On a more serious note, the training that followed, taught the mentors about crisis management and working with underage individuals.

After a full day of intensive training for the college mentors, high school students started arriving that same night.

Throughout their 10-day journey, the Academy offered many sessions on leadership training, communication building, and life-skill activities that would serve as building blocks to help students and their families move past barriers in their life, such as racial, financial, social, and academic.

Students were encouraged to move toward a successful future college experience!

We were sad to see everyone leave, and we had a blast working with each and every one of you! In addition, we are very excited to work with and meet the students in the 2016 H.O.P.E. Academy next summer!