If you are an educator in a Pickaway County school, your work with our students generally ends when they finish high school.
But for Christy Mills with Pickaway H.E.L.P.S., her job is to encourage students to pursue educational opportunities after high school.
The ESC has been a partner of Pickaway H.E.L.P.S. since its inception in 2007. Christy has an office at the ESC and the use of our facility.
However, our big partnership is the ACT prep workshops that Christy oversees for high school juniors throughout the county.
“We want to make education beyond high school possible for everybody,” Christy said.
The workshops were started in 2008 and gradually, the challenges that Christy has faced are being met.
Culturally, Christy has had to work against the perception among some that not everyone could go to college.
To that end, in 2012, the Pickaway H.E.L.P.S./Ula Jean Ater Metzler Scholarship was created that is specifically for first-generation college students.
The scholarship was named to honor Ula Jean, a former county commissioner who founded Pickaway H.E.L.P.S.
“I think now parents have learned the benefit (of going to college) but maybe they don’t know how to help their children with the process,” Christy said.
Christy helps with that through the ACT Prep workshops that are held once in the fall and once in the spring.
The four-hour workshop provides students with simulated timed tests, test-taking skills, time-management and stress-management tips. Students also receive the mandatory workbook at a reduced price of $10.
But the students have to bring the right attitude to be successful, Christy said.
“I tell them, ‘You will only get out of it what you put into it.’ ”
Each day, Christy visits a different school district and works with students in 7th through 10th grades providing college- and career-readiness activities. She explains to students what the ACT benchmarks are and why they are important.
“In the beginning, there were a lot of questions for the purpose and the need but I think we’ve grown past that,” she said.
Ankrom is the superintendent of the Pickaway County Educational Service Center.