Eastpointe High School student Taylor Drozdowski plays checkers with some of the residents of the Eastpointe Senior Citizens Center during one of the C2 Pipeline’s after-school programs.

Eastpointe High School student Taylor Drozdowski plays checkers with some of the residents of the Eastpointe Senior Citizens Center during one of the C2 Pipeline’s after-school programs.

Photo provided by Cheryl Rhoades


Eastpointe after-school program gives students hands-on experience

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 14, 2018

 Eastpointe High School students, from left, Jecorian Smith, Davion Holloway, Keegan Lerchenfeld, Xavier Hines, Stephon Jackson and Jesse Judkins are among the students taking part in the C2 Pipeline program at Eastpointe High School. The program teaches students new skills through hands-on projects and helps them explore their futures after graduation.

Eastpointe High School students, from left, Jecorian Smith, Davion Holloway, Keegan Lerchenfeld, Xavier Hines, Stephon Jackson and Jesse Judkins are among the students taking part in the C2 Pipeline program at Eastpointe High School. The program teaches students new skills through hands-on projects and helps them explore their futures after graduation.

Photo provided by Cheryl Rhoades

EASTPOINTE — Preparing students for their futures involves more than their classes during the school day. Eastpointe High School is participating in an after-school program that helps students consider different career options.

Called the C2 Pipeline program, students meet after class and can attend a summer program that educates them in different fields and gives them hands-on opportunities to try out new things.

Cheryl Rhoades, the Eastpointe High School site coordinator, said programs like this are not only encouraging students to look beyond the end of high school in regard to their education, but also are helping give them the tools to reach those new career goals.

“C2 is like ‘C-squared’ and stands for college and career prep,” explained Rhoades. “We want to expose students to activities and run them through an enrichment hour to show them areas of study they might consider going into after graduating. Wayne State University governs this outreach program, and the funding comes through the Michigan Department of Education as part of a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.”

The C2 Pipeline program provides students with 2 1/2 hours after school devoted to project-based learning in areas such as health and social services, business, science, engineering and technology.

“It’s all project-based learning, so we let the kids have hands-on projects,” Rhoades said. “Whether it’s looking at a robot or building a catapult, it gets them using their hands and using their brains to figure out different challenges. We also go out into the community for less STEM-related projects, like when we went over to work with the senior center residents across the street (from Eastpointe High School). Being part of and interacting with the community are just as important when figuring out how to plan your future and considering potential careers.”

The summer program is looked at as a sort of warmup for college, and it intends to give students a taste of what the college experience is like. The after-school program is free and there is no cost for the summer portion for those enrolled in the after-school program.

“C2 Pipeline operates 32 weeks in (each) school, and we have summer programs as well (at Wayne State University’s downtown campus), called the Warriors Experience, which the students can live in the dorms for 11 nights, living the life of a college student, and they are exposed to everything college students have,” Rhoades said. “They compete for scholarships, go to classes and live on their own. I have a number of students who were in the program who are now enrolled at Wayne State or even coming back and helping out with our program. It’s so gratifying to see a student make something of themselves.”

Maria Ventimiglia is the program’s student engagement coordinator, and she is one of the summer program administrators. She added that putting students in a position to live what they are learning isn’t just a matter of imparting certain skills to them, but is also showing kids they are capable of doing such things.

“I think it’s effective because we try to employ a lot of hands-on activities for the students. They are not just sitting in a desk listening to a professor talk about a subject. They learn from real medical professionals to take blood samples and take tests from patients. It better lets them envision themselves in that role. That’s why we bring them to live in the dorms during the summer — to better let them not only build interpersonal skills by meeting and interacting with new people, but also by seeing what it would be like for them, specifically, to go to college.”

Ventimiglia said the difference this program makes in students can be enormous.

“I definitely see a difference,” she remarked. “Talking with students after the camp, many said before that they didn’t think college was for them, but after living in the dorms, and seeing the campus and seeing the scholarships that are available, many have changed their minds and decided college was something they wanted to pursue after that.”

The Eastpointe High School chapter of the program is available to all students enrolled at the school. Families can fill out a registration form at c2pipeline.wayne.edu that can be turned in at the school.

“This is our sixth year in Eastpointe. We began in 2012 in five schools in three counties. Within five years, we grew to 15 schools. We’re now in 19 in the tricounty area,” Rhoades said. “At Eastpointe Schools, we are based in the media center and our computer lab here. It’s a nice space, because it’s great for student learning, or doing their homework or working on a big group project.”

Both women said the benefits of broadening a student’s perspective on future options cannot be underestimated.

“This is really a one-of-a-kind program,” Ventimiglia said. “We have so many wonderful partners at both the college level and in the community who make this program what it is and allow us to offer students a diverse experience that can expand their mindset and expose them to new opportunities. We do all of this while teaching them life skills, like social and emotional skills. It’s a great way to kick-start their future.”