Rotary kicks off third year of STRIVE

by Jim Boyle

The Elk River Rotary kicked off its third year of STRIVE at Elk River High School this past week.

Thirty-one Elk River High School seniors have turned out for the mentorship program for Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education.  They will be paired with Rotarians.

STRIVE is a national partnership between high schools and Rotary clubs across America. Locally, Elk River and Rogers Rotary clubs partner with high school students. The Rogers program started a few years before Elk River’s.

Fifteen Elk River High School students completed the STRIVE program last year, including six who had perfect attendance.

The purpose of the program is to partner 12th-grade students with local business leaders in an



innovative way to increase students’ personal and academic achievements.

The students will be pressed to think about what it will take for them to be successful and ask themselves where they want to be five years from now.

STRIVE students in Elk River will meet with Rotarians for one class period every other week throughout the school year to hear about topics such as creating a vision for success, post high school planning, time management,  attitude, leadership, integrity and S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Speakers lined up include Dan Dixon, the head of Guardian Angels; former Sheriff Bruce Anderson; Kayla Stai of the Minnesota School of Business; Amanda Larson, the chair of the Rotary’s STRIVE program;  Brandon Hanson of Thrivent Financial; Elk River City Council Member Nick Zerwas; Curt Hinkle, of Young Life; and others.

STRIVE works on the following goals with respect to student achievement:

•improve-maintain a minimum of a C average.

•improve students’ overall GPA.

•maintain regular class attendance (Students with perfect attendance at the end of the year receive a crisp $100 bill).

•actively participate in learning, honoring requests of the teacher and treating classmates with respect and dignity.

•attendance at STRIVE meetings to include being on time, binder in hand and actively participate. (Students who bring their binders each time are entered in drawings for cash prizes.)

STRIVE students who work toward and accomplish these goals will be eligible at the end of the year for financial scholarships. One thousand dollars will go to the one with the most improved GPA of all STRIVE members, $500 will go to the one with the second  most improved GPA of all STRIVE members and a $300 scholarship will go to the STRIVE student with the highest overall GPA.

Larson impressed upon the students in attendance this past Monday that the rewards for participation, however, go far beyond the potential for improved grades and scholarships.

“You will be able to network with business leaders in this community who are connected with of people that might be able help you find a job that you want or help in some other way you didn’t even imagine,” Larson said.

Awareness of STRIVE is catching on. One student commented to a Rotarian that he remembered hearing about it last year and thinking it would be a good thing for him.

“I don’t even know what it was about it,” the student said. “I just remember thinking I should do that.”

Elk River High School counselor Michelle Reimer helped line up students for the program.Her goal was 25 to 30,  so to start with 31 she was pleased.  “We’re off to a great start,” she said.