For many, an 8th-grade year filled with homework and virtual learning would be plenty to deal with, but for Ward 6 scholar Elijah it wasn’t enough. On top of classes, hobbies, and participation in Higher Achievement, he spent hours in the spring of 2021 diligently applying to and preparing for high school.
The preparation process began during his 7th-grade year at Higher Achievement. His parents and staff helped Elijah identify his options and narrow his choices. He was able to attend open houses and schedule shadow days in person before the pandemic and identified a top choice: Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) High School.
“I like putting things together,” says Elijah. “I enjoy building, creating, and thinking about how I would make things.” An interest in cars, in particular, steered him towards a focus on mechanical engineering.
Phelps’ unique academic model would surely prepare Elijah to pursue his engineering aspirations. It is the first public high school in the country to offer both college preparatory and vocational education exclusively dedicated to the design professions and construction trades. Phelps offers a focus on a real-world, project-based curriculum supported by core academic courses and incorporates building best practices into the physical design of the school, with the entire building functioning as a teaching tool.
To apply, Elijah completed an interview, recommendation letters from his English and Math teachers, and an essay with the help of his parents and his Higher Achievement mentor, Mr. Matt. “I can talk to Mr. Matt about everything,” says Elijah. “We talk about how our week is going and he helps me with school projects and high school applications.”
The extra support held extra meaning during a year of virtual learning. “I like being in person more,” affirms Elijah. “My school was doing some online work already so it wasn’t a big difference, but I couldn’t talk to teachers after class or see friends.”
In April, Elijah heard the news that he was accepted into Phelps’ Class of 2025. He looks forward to meeting new people, running track, and the engineering, coding, robotics activities offered at Phelps.