550 Dreams: Student U Welcomes Our Class of 2022

by Bettina Umstead, Middle School Program Director


Each week, a member of our community writes a reflection about Student U, our community, and notable moments and events that affect us all. This week, Bettina Umstead reflects on the new student welcome dinner Student U held last Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday evening, Student U welcomed the Class of 2022 into our community.  As families filled the cafeteria at WG Pearson Center, we saw smiles and eyes wide in excitement. We heard nervous laughter.  Ms. Ashley, Ms. Z and I floated around the room, greeting new parents and students.  With each face and introduction, I saw the brilliance of each student.

Each new student is entering a pipeline of support that will empower them to reach their dreams.  The dreams, as written in their applications, of being a doctor, lawyer, mathematician, singer or dancer.  The dreams of changing the world through the eradication of pollution, education for parents or the equal treatment of immigrants in our country.  Students desired to be a part of Student U to help better themselves, their academic journey and, another popular answer, “because I’ve heard it’s cool.”

Not only will these students have the opportunity to be supported to reach their dreams, so will their parents and guardians.  The parents in the cafeteria at WG Pearson represented the newest group of people who will help challenge Student U to be better organization through their own voices.  This newest group of parents will advocate on behalf of their child inside their school.  This newest group of parents will share the knowledge they gain about how to become college bound with other parents in their neighborhoods and communities.

How do I know?  Dan’s Food for Thought, “This is the Power of Student U” this last week showed a few examples of how our community is changing the world.  Julio is planning a trip for the Marine Biology Club at Riverside to the Outer Banks, a place he visited at Student U while in 6th grade.  While Julio’s mother and his younger sister, Naomi, attended the meeting for new students, Julio talked to Ms. Alex, once his 6C teacher.  Naomi is a part of the Class of 2022.  In her application she wrote that she would like to be the first Hispanic woman president.  She wants to change the world by “going to places like Africa to give food, water, clothes, homes, medical services and school education to the homeless.”  I know that all of Namoi’s teachers, in both the summer and year round programs, will find a way for her to use her ideas and will help her change the world.

Ms. Ayll, Julio & Namoi’s mother, has attend majority of Student U’s Parent Workshops.  She expressed to Ms. Anna that Student U should offer computer classes for parents.  The computer classes could allow parents to create email addresses, learn how to use Power School and also give access to job opportunities.  Ms. Ayll & Ms. Anna will collaborate to make this class a reality for our community.

I’m thankful to work in this Student U community. Our community empowers each and every individual to reach his or her dreams and to change the world.  The Class of 2022 represents our newest set of dreams and desires to change the world.  With the newest class, we have approximately 450 students and families in our program. 100 more individuals work every day of the year with our families. Our community is 550 people strong. That’s 550 individuals dedicated to energizing our communities, achieving greatness, discovering our best selves, dreaming fearlessly, and sharing our brilliance.  550 individuals who will change our world.


The brilliance and successes of Student U’s community
Play Video

The Kendall Family

Play Video

Elijah & Ethan

Play Video

Elliot & Taryn


Get the latest updates within our community