Item 1.01 Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement.
“Company”) investment in a student housing complex,
a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company (“ARF”) entered into guaranties
related to a
the Company has a membership interest. Pursuant to the Guaranty Agreement, dated
the “Guarantors”) for the benefit of
“Lender”), the Guarantors provided limited (“bad boy”) guaranties to the Lender
pursuant to the
Drive East, LLC
Lender (“Loan Agreement”) until the earlier of the payment in full of the
indebtedness or the date of a sale of the property pursuant to a foreclosure of
the mortgage or deed or other transfer in lieu of foreclosure is accepted by the
Agreement for the benefit of the Lender to guaranty the timely completion of the
project in accordance with the Loan Agreement, as well as a Carry Guaranty
Agreement, for the benefit of the Lender to guaranty the prompt and
unconditional payment by Borrower of all customary or necessary costs and
expenses incurred in connection with the operation, maintenance and management
of the property and an Environmental Indemnity Agreement jointly and severally
in favor of the Lender whereby the Guarantors serving as Indemnitors provided
environmental representations and warranties, covenants and indemnification
(collectively the “Guaranties”). The Guaranties include certain financial
covenants required of ARF, including required net worth and liquidity
The foregoing description of the Guaranty Agreement, the Completion Guaranty
Agreement, the Carry Guaranty Agreement and the Environmental Indemnity
Agreement are only summaries, do not purport to be complete and are qualified in
their entirety by reference to the full text of such agreements, which are filed
as Exhibits 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4 hereto and are incorporated herein by
Item 9.01 Financial Statements and Exhibits.
Exhibit No. 10.1 Guaranty Agreement executed
January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.for the benefit of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company10.2 Completion Guaranty Agreement executed January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.for the benefit of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company10.3 Carry Guaranty Agreement executed January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.for the benefit of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company10.4 Environmental Indemnity Agreement executed January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.in favor of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company104 Cover Page Interactive Data File (embedded within the Inline XBRL document).
© Edgar Online, source
DANVILLE – A group of Danville High School students hope their community service projects and weekly podcast help cast a positive light on their school, its students and the community as a whole.
Concerned about the teacher shortage at their school – which stems from a national shortage of teachers that started several years ago – DHS’ Future Problem Solvers decided to highlight the positives at their school and in the community as a way to encourage people to consider teaching at their school.
“We want to uplift the image of Danville and Danville High School,” FPS member and DHS junior Isaiah Easton said.
The FPS team, whose members range from freshmen to seniors, launched Project LENS (Locally Elevating Our Neighborhood and Schools) as their project this school year. They will submit their project in February to be judged during a Future Problem Solvers state competition.
“They wanted to address the teacher shortage issue, and they wanted to show the school in a positive light,” said DHS history teacher Lori Woods, who has sponsored Future Problem Solvers – first at North Ridge Middle School and now at the high school – for about 15 years. “The teacher shortage is not just affecting Danville; it’s a national issue.”
The students kicked off Project LENS earlier this school year by showing appreciation to DHS staff, custodians and bus drivers.
During a Bus Blitz in October, the Future Problems Solvers made key chains and treat bags that they distributed after school to the bus drivers to show their appreciation. It was during this activity that the students made their first TikTok.
The teens also showed appreciation to DHS staff and the custodians. During parent-teacher conferences this fall, the FPS team created a snack bar with candy, chips and bottled water and, with the help of the DHS student council, provided sandwich trays, fruit and cupcakes for the teachers who stayed at the school from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. to meet with parents.
“We brought the teachers food during the parent-teacher conferences because they don’t get to go home until late,” FPS member and DHS senior Simone Atkinson said.
While supporting the DHS staff, the FPS team took care of one of their own and participated in a month-long fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“We have an FPS member who has been getting treatment at St. Jude,” Isaiah said. “All the FPS members walked 60 miles in a month, and we had other students and adults do it, too.”
The FPS team also was involved during the Festival of Trees by decorating a tree they named the “Belle of the Ball.”
“The body of the tree was a dress,” Isaiah explained.
A gingerbread village that the FPS team created with the DHS student council earned them a first-place blue ribbon during the Festival of Trees.
In another show of appreciation, FPS members organized, decorated and hosted close to 90 retired teachers from around Vermilion County at a Dec. 2 luncheon at the Hegeler Mansion.
“The Hegeler Mansion was trying out if they could have events there, and we were the first ones,” Woods said. “The kids figured out a budget and got it all organized.
“The kids designed the centerpieces from poinsettias, decorated with ribbons down the tables and made the dessert trays,” she added.
A special touch was the charcuterie cups – filled with snack-size crackers, meats, cheeses and grapes – that the students assembled and placed at each place setting.
“We wanted to show appreciation to our retired teachers,” Simone said.
The day before winter break, the FPS team was back out in the community and made its second annual holiday visit with the veterans who live at Cannon Place apartments on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs Illiana Healthcare System.
“We’ve been pretty successful in getting the community members to come out of their apartments,” Isaiah said. “A lot of them are happy to see us.”
Fellow FPS member and DHS junior Cameron Feuerborn agreed. “People know what we did last year, and they’re coming out and enjoying this.”
Similar to last year’s inaugural event at Cannon Place, the students set up a coffee bar with baked goods and played games with the veterans as well as refilled the supply closets in the common area of the apartment building.
The most significant part of Project LENS, however, is the students’ weekly podcast every Tuesday morning sponsored by Neuhoff Media. Recordings of past podcasts can be found online at Vermilion County First.
“Every week they discuss different topics such as mental health issues, legislation affecting education, and housing affecting the whole county,” Woods said, adding, “It’s hard to come up with something to talk about every week.”
“Sometimes we’ll pull in a guest speaker,” Isaiah said.
The podcast has featured DHS Principal Tracy Cherry, incoming DHS Principal Jacob Bretz, and recent DHS and FPS alums who have talked about their college and military experience.
During the podcast, a BOB – or Best of Best – Award is announced for a DHS student or staff member, according to FPS member and DHS junior Ethan Fox.
Next up is the Vermilion County Youth Leadership Conference on Jan. 23 at Danville Area Community College during which high school students from all over Vermilion County will discuss relevant topics. A smaller youth leadership conference also will take place for Kenneth D. Bailey Academy and North Ridge Middle School students.
Community members can follow all of the Future Problem Solvers’ positive efforts throughout the school year on social media platforms including Tik Tok and Facebook.
“We want to set an example for other communities because we’re not the only community suffering from a teacher shortage,” Isaiah said.
FPS member and DHS senior Audriana Alvarez agreed. “We want to bring appreciation to our teachers and encourage people to become teachers because of the shortage.”
Reports of robust job openings in the U.S. labor market have been misleading for recent Gen-Z college graduates looking to start their employment journeys. After a drastic downturn in job availability during the pandemic, the new round of Gen-Z hopefuls is now facing job openings in sectors looking to fill positions less to their liking.
According to a Time Magazine report of June 2022 findings, employment improved for graduates as the economy reopened, but the gap widened again. Even as the overall unemployment for the general population dipped to 3.5% in the spring, the graduate unemployment percentage rose to 4.1%.
Although many employers have positions that need filling, according to Business Insider, many jobs in companies are different from what recent graduates find appealing. Some traditional workplaces do not represent environments that align with what matters to them [recent graduates] in work-life balance or sustainable goals.
Either way, a disconnect between what employers think they are offering and what the younger generation wants results in fewer recent graduates taking positions in more traditional job settings. As a result, this lack of conventional employment pursuit has energized recent graduates to explore the gig economy and entrepreneurial efforts with financial and general freedom as their north star.
Lured in by the recent swell of the entrepreneur wave, many graduates today are leaving school with a determination to make it on their own instead of looking to corporate answers for employment.
Keyan Chang has had a similar story, where his pursuit of a bigger paycheck and more financial freedom post-college led him to entrepreneurship. Chang’s story, from being a graduate to becoming a highly successful real estate investor, has been punctuated with what he calls delusional optimism.
Chang’s journey started as a graduate of electrical engineering who realized how much he needed financial freedom after his parents divorced. His journey led him from engineering to sales and eventually to real estate, where he is now part owner of a Mortgage Brokerage company, Motto Mortgage.
This reporter sat down with Chang to hear his story of hard work, pivots, and a self-proclaimed delusional optimism that has brought him success and might inspire others who wish to follow similar paths.
Rod Berger: How would you describe the Keyan Chang story? Basically, what would be your pitch if you were to enter a room and give a synopsis?
Keyan Chang: I am a real estate and sales expert. I have a job in sales and a business in real estate, and I’m part owner of a Mortgage Brokerage company, Motto Mortgage. I was not born with a silver spoon. When I graduated from college, my parents had just divorced, and I had $3000 to my name, so making money became essential to me early on. It was that need that really drove me from job to job and eventually to real estate.
Berger: Expanding on the financial pressures on your life, how did that affect your choice of study and subsequent entry into the job market that eventually led you to real estate?
Chang: Well, I studied electrical engineering because someone told my 18-year-old self the career had the greatest money prospects. So, after school, I worked with companies like Next Door, Lyft, and Monster Energy. Then I transitioned into an engineering internship at a company called Worldwide technology, which resembled Cisco. I quickly realized the salespeople seemed much happier than the engineers and made more money, which further piqued my interest in sales.
I eventually transitioned to Crowdstrike, a full-fledged sales company, and that was how my journey in sales started. I finally made enough money to buy my first real estate property, and the journey has been great.
Berger: What was it like transitioning from sales to real estate? Was there a eureka moment that made you feel you needed to invest in real estate?
Chang: Well, not really. What happened was that I had wanted to buy a Tesla for the longest time. When I started making a fair amount of money, I considered the car purchase but kept seeing these videos online warning me that buying a car would ruin me financially. These videos were advising me to buy property so that I could earn monthly rental income.
Around the same time, I had a friend attending Brigham Young University (BYU). He told me about the school’s accommodation rule where unmarried students were required to live in BYU-approved accommodations, which essentially meant housing within one mile of the school.
The rule made it somewhat difficult for the students, so I went online and found a five-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath condo within the area. My friend and I decided to go in together and bought the property. My friend moved into the house and rented the rooms out to his friends. After a year, we bought the house next door. That was how I initially got into real estate. I just saw an opportunity and jumped on it.
Berger: You’ve mentioned this concept of delusional optimism. Can you explain how this mantra drives you?
Chang: I know the term sounds a bit absurd. It means having and pursuing a big vision without figuring out the dedicated next steps to get there. It’s following a dream and knowing that you will figure it out as you go along. It’s like faith, where you see the picture so clearly that you are willing to stake everything on it and chase it, even if you don’t know how to get there.
Berger: Has this form of optimism helped you from your days as a graduate? How would you say it has shaped your overall life story?
Chang: It has served me quite well. When I started working full-time in sales, I had this crazy belief that I could make it in sales. My belief was so strong that while my colleagues made 30 to 70 cold calls daily, I made 100 to 200.
Delusional optimism means that you are so adamant about the vision that it shows in how crazily you pursue it. That is what makes it delusional, in a sense. Optimism is one thing, but if you follow it like crazy, it tends to come to pass. I have never seen anyone who sacrificed everything to pursue a goal that didn’t make it. I still work the sales job and have grown to senior accounts officer in the company, but that crazy pursuit has also led me to build a substantial real estate portfolio.
Berger: How has your mindset and pursuit specifically helped you overcome obstacles in your real estate business?
Chang: I entered the real estate market the same way I enter anything, with a crazy belief. I remember people warning me against buying that second property near BYU because the pandemic was in full bloom, and property markets were already being affected. But it didn’t make any sense not to buy it. I could put a 10% down payment and pay around $1000 a month – it just made sense.
However, soon after buying that property, I ran out of money. All my money was tied to the two properties, and I didn’t have enough liquidity to do another deal. I quickly learned that those types of properties were unique, and it was rare to buy a 5-room condo for $250,000.
I was effectively out of the market, but I had a massive vision for my success in real estate. After brainstorming, the next step became apparent. I began leveraging my success with the two properties to upsell my consultancy service. I called on partners to put up money with me to purchase property and make rental income.
Soon enough, I had more partners, and we bought two duplexes and one fourplex in Ohio. My partners were excited about making 15% to 20% in cash on their investments. As the news spread, my co-workers became interested and invested in my business. We bought more fourplexes, and more co-workers began putting up 100% of the money while I just chose the properties and shared profits.
The journey has led me to own and manage Airbnb and apartment complexes. We now own and operate about 68 real estate units with our partners. These units generate monthly revenue of about $87,000, which results in 30-37K profit after expenses and maintenance. The point is that with delusional optimism, the next steps will eventually become evident if we keep pushing.
Berger: What do you think hinders young people from developing this mindset? Can this form of optimism and drive be advanced in some fashion?
Chang: The first key is desire and a strong need to succeed. When I started working in sales, many of my colleagues were financially better off than me, so they might not have needed it as badly. I had no option but to succeed. It’s most likely why I could make hundreds of cold calls a day.
Also, young people need to become comfortable with rejection because it’s the only way to sustain tempo when pursuing goals. I got rejected so much on cold calls that I got desensitized to rejection.
Failure teaches you so much. The cold calls and those rejections made me a better negotiator. I could tell whether someone was interested or not, even by how they breathed on the phone or paused before answering. I still do most of my real estate deals remotely, so you can imagine how much these skills have served me. I have failed forward every single time.
Many of today’s graduates are entering the changing job market with a mindset shaped by entrepreneurial success stories that have come before them. They are propelled by dreams of having their own businesses or organizations that speak to various interests and work-life balance goals.
Keyan Chang’s story highlights that it takes more than delusional optimism to make the journey a reality. Tenacity, grit, perseverance, and handling rejection are key factors shaping any successful entrepreneurial journey.
To achieve financial and personal independence, a combination of learning pathways intersect from education and internship to work experience and professional partnerships. Inevitably, as Chang demonstrated, it often takes many licks off the proverbial lollipop of job pursuits and experiences to eventually find the answer.
Dreams matter but hard work and the ability to overcome failure are often hallmarks of success for anyone looking to sustain it for the long haul.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
DANVILLE — Preparing students for college always has been important at Danville High School. Career readiness is even as important.
One of the areas the school district is supporting in Career and Technical Education is in the automotive area.
Dan Hile, DHS Career and Technical Education department chairman, said as they were the first department to bring students back during the COVID-19 years, the school got the students bags with their own personal gloves, helmet, mask, glasses and other items.
In the automotive area, for example, Hile said “we’re trying to provide as many real-world, hands-on experiences.”
One item the school district purchased is a tire system, for tire mounting and balancing.
“It’s industry-grade stuff,” Hile said.
DHS has an automotive program where students can take an intro class and rotate around and can also take intermediate and advanced courses.
The students don’t do body work, but they can work on tires, brakes and do other work on cars.
“It’s a chance for kids to work on (vehicles),” Hile said.
Clint Rebman is an industrial technology teacher at DHS who specializes in automotive technology and Project Lead the Way pre-engineering courses Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering.
Rebman also has students as part of an Introduction to Careers class. They spend a quarter with him in automotive, a quarter doing computer drafting, a quarter welding and a quarter in wood shop.
“It’s mostly freshmen. They get a taste of everything we have to offer in career and tech ed. The beautiful thing is if they don’t like one, they’re onto the next one,” Rebman said. “It’s all about trying on different hats and seeing what you like and see what you don’t like.”
His two laboratories have been vastly improved by the recent D118 CTE investments.
Rebman said they received new equipment for the Principles in Engineering class this year, lots of new robotics.
One is a hydrogen-powered car that the students made, and they had races with them.
“They really enjoyed that,” Rebman said.
“There’s a lot of problem solving alone the way, which is a part of the process. And when they have a problem, it’s in a way it’s a positive because they have to overcome that problem, try different solutions and see what works, which is really the true engineering experience in that regard,” Rebman said.
Another class recently finished putting together engines they’d been working on. They were putting on the final touches before holiday break.
“My goal is to teach them how to professionally disassemble and reassemble a gasoline engine, which they’ve done very well with,” Rebman said.
The students also focus on basics of electricity with vehicles. Teaching electrical principals is important with automobiles becoming more electronic every day, he added.
He also said that these are job skills the students can make money with.
The classes have females and males.
“A lot of times my females are the strongest students sometimes. It’s always impressive to me. I really enjoy having a mix in the class,” Rebman said.
He said someone could be surprised to see the female students turning wrenches and showing the boys how it’s done.
Rebman told the students the skills they’re learning with the engines, computer aided drafting, wood shop and welding, they can earn a living doing.
The students went to the tool closet in the automotive area to get their tools out and used wrenches to work on engines recently.
The students worked near two new pieces of equipment of a tire balancer and tire mount/dismount.
The automotive class will be taking tires off and on the rims properly, learning how to patch them properly and how to balance the tires.
“It’s a beautiful new machine. It’s way nicer than the one I was trained on initially,” Rebman said.
Students will be using the new machines when they get back from break, first thing in January.
The tire balancer is color-coded with different weights, and really high tech.
“We’re really thrilled to get using it,” Rebman said.
That equipment and the robotics kits are the newest additions for students. DHS received the vehicle lift a couple years ago.
“This is the Ferrari of mounters and balancers,” Rebman said of DHS equipment. “This is really nice.”
In the automotive course, the first semester they focus on working under the hood, including the parts of an engine, the charging, cooling, ignition and fuel delivery systems. The second semester is focused on everything else, following the powertrain. That includes the transmission, suspension, steering, braking and wheels.
Students Ericha Redmon, a sophomore, and Nathan Gray, freshman, said they’ve enjoyed the intro to careers class and learning about engines.
Ericha said she had some experience working on cars in helping her dad. Her dad works at Masterguard.
“It’s interesting to me because you can learn a lot about an engine and that type of stuff,” she said.
Nathan said the class could help him for a future career. He said he’s mostly liked being in the automotive area.
Please accept my gratitude and appreciation for your support, encouragement, and generosity.
As students, trustees, employees, alumni, donors, and friends of DACC, you are helping sustain founding President Mary Miller’s 76-year legacy of educational excellence and service to our District 507 community.
We’re grateful to our students who choose to pursue their educational aspirations at DACC.
We’re grateful to those trustees elected to the College board and to those appointed to the Foundation board—all volunteering their time and talent in the governance of the College.
We’re grateful to our faculty, staff, administrators, and student workers, for their dedication to the community-college mission and the promise of open access and affordability.
We’re grateful to our alumni who have proudly proclaimed their DACC stories over the past eight decades.
We’re grateful to our donors, who give not only financial support but also inspiration for our students in their progress toward graduation.
We’re grateful to the friends of DACC, the elected officials as well as the citizens and tax payers who are advocates for the College with their kind words and appreciation for DACC’s value to the community.
With the DACC graduation rate having achieved an all-time record of 43-percent in the past year, all of you have earned our gratitude.
On behalf of the faculty and staff of DACC, I wish you joy and love and peace this holiday season.
Thank you for a wonderful year.
Dr. Stephen Nacco, President
In its continuing effort to support youth pursuing careers in agriculture, Ceres Solutions will offer $25,000 through scholarships to high school seniors and college students in the upcoming spring.
Students receiving the scholarships are selected based on their commitment to agricultural youth programs and their desire to pursue higher education.
“Our employee group and our Board of Directors strongly believe in investing in education, and in particular, it is a privilege to support students from the local farm families we serve,” said Jeff Troike, Ceres Solutions Cooperative CEO. “Students who are passionate about agriculture and demonstrate leadership will be the best advocates of our industry in the years to come.”
Selection criteria emphasizes involvement in agricultural youth groups such as 4-H and FFA. Students must be children or grandchildren of current cooperative members. They must be entering their freshman year of college in the fall of 2023 and pursuing and agriculture related field of study.
Since committing to offering a scholarship program, it is estimated Ceres and its predecessor co-ops have provided more than $250,000 in scholarships to local students.
Students interested in applying for these scholarships or learning more about Ceres Solutions should visit the website at www.ceres.coop or contact David Smith at 260-571-6990. Completed scholarship forms must be submitted by March 1, 2023.
Danville Lions Club announced that Cooper Wilson of Schlarman Academy has been chosen as the winner of the annual Danville Lions Peace Poster contest and was awarded with a check for $100 from Danville Lions Club President Dr. Brad Cooper, and Bill Wallpe, Mary Wicoff and Jeanne Mulvaney at Schlarman Academy.
The award was presented in Michele Winn’s sixth grade classroom, whose students had all participated in the contest along with Cooper. Cooper is the daughter of Sarah and Ryan Wilson.
Danville Lions Club members appreciate that Schlarman Academy students have participated for three years in the annual contest, even through years of COVID-19.
This year, Lions Club was pleased that Trinity Lutheran School submitted posters from students ages 11-13 who illustrated their ideas of the theme “Lead with Compassion.” Trinity Lutheran was given a certificate recognizing their efforts and participation.
The theme for the annual Peace Poster contest varies each year, engaging students to express their ideas in pictures. This is one of the ways Danville Lions serves young people of our community, seeking their ideas about peace.
In addition, Danville Lions Club conducts annual vision screening where children from as early as pre-school age are screened for vision and/or eyeglasses needs. In December, Christmas meals are delivered to families and children to provide for their holiday and other food needs.
Danville Lions Club embraces the International Lions Club organization motto of: “We Serve.” Through these services and others, Danville Lions Club invites members of our community to join us in serving our community.
For information and membership contact:
Danville Lions Club
P.O. Box 1396
Danville, IL 61834
Past District Governor Bill Wallpe – 217-474-9210
Thank you and Happy Holidays to all!
I have some simple — and unsolicited — advice for Illinois college and university students: Do everything possible to study abroad while you are an undergraduate.
I offer this advice based on personal experience and academic research.
I attended Knox College and spent one semester of my junior year on a London-Florence program that Knox sponsored with several other Midwestern schools. This was my first trip overseas and it not only provided a primer on two remarkable countries, it also allowed me to live and study with students from around the United States who I would never have encountered on the Galesburg campus of Knox. We spent the first eight weeks in London studying English history, with unforgettable visits to the Houses of Parliament, Hampton Court, and the Tower of London. Our evenings were devoted to attending plays and concerts. This was followed by eight weeks in Florence, Italy, delving into Italian history and learning about the architectural and artistic splendor of not only Florence but Siena, Padua, and Pisa as well.
This was an enriching time for me that sparked a lifelong love of travel and an enduring interest in international affairs.
My wife attended Clark University in Massachusetts and spent her entire junior year abroad thanks to its exchange program with the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. There she and a handful of other “Clarkies” were fully immersed in an English university, living and studying with British students. Not only did her passion for British history, literature, and theater blossom during the year, but she was also able to spend school vacations traveling around the United Kingdom and Europe. She made two lifelong British friends that year and now, decades later, speaks to them regularly. My wife counts that year in Sussex as one of her life’s best decisions.
Our experiences are not unique.
The State Department makes a powerful case for study abroad programs. “By studying abroad, you will experience new perspectives, learn how to navigate different cultures, work with diverse peers, and communicate in other languages,” the department says on its website. “Whether you are a future innovator, entrepreneur, engineer, scientist, doctor, journalist, teacher or diplomat, these are the skills that will prepare you to solve the world’s toughest challenges, make you more competitive in the job market and transform you into a responsible engaged citizen.”
In a typical year, more than 300,000 America students study, intern, or volunteer abroad for academic credit on programs ranging from two weeks to a full academic year. Studies reveal that about 80% of college freshman say they would like to study abroad but only about 10% actually do so before they graduate.
Paul Simon was a passionate advocate for international travel and education, especially for students who used the experience to learn another language. In his book, “The Tongue Tied American,” Simon argued that learning a foreign language enlarges our world and makes us better citizens.
Two Illinois lawmakers, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, recently joined colleagues on both sides of the political aisle to reintroduce the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act in the U.S. Congress.
The legislation has a number of goals. It seeks to boost the number of undergraduate students studying abroad annually to one million students within 10 years; increase the number of minority students, first generation college students, community college students, and students with disabilities who study abroad; grow the number of students who study in nontraditional destinations, with an emphasis on economically developing nations; and encourage colleges and universities to place a greater emphasis on study abroad programs.
The bill includes competitive grants for colleges and universities to help them expand access to study abroad programs. It also allows grants to be used to help offset individual student costs related to study abroad — which can be a barrier.
According to CollegeVine, 50 Illinois colleges and universities offer study abroad programs, providing important opportunities for their students.
I encourage students to study overseas, make new friends, see the world — and then return home and make Illinois better.
John Shaw is the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Shaw’s monthly column explores how Illinois can work toward better politics and smarter government.
In March 2009, Danville Area Community College premiered a new program for “at risk” high school students called Middle College.
Middle College is a prevention program whose goal is to take students who are at-risk of dropping out and support them on their way to high school completion.
The news release initially announcing the program began with this paragraph, “Failure to complete high school has been called the “Million Dollar Mistake.” It costs the individual $600,000 in lost lifetime earnings, but it costs the community $400,000 in increased social service and health care costs. We all know kids who are struggling in school, not because they aren’t capable but because they have barriers to success. If their learning style, home situation or life choices endanger their ability to complete high school, it is in the community’s best interest to help overcome them.
Middle College students are unique in how they acquire dual credit. The students take all of their classes at DACC, but remain a student of their home high school. Once enrolled, the students take entrance tests like any other college student, and then their classes are chosen based on the credits they need to graduate. Though every student has their own class schedule, they meet once a day as a group for a core class.
Intensive case management and intervention are accomplished with a caring team of staff members who take a holistic, wrap-around approach to keeping the students engaged and on track to graduation. Members of the team are Terry Goodwin, Dean of Adult Education; Kathy Leary, Middle College Supervisor; Autymne Huerta, Middle College Case Manager & Advisor; JR Scruggs, Middle College Instructor & Lab Monitor; and Rhonda Royce, Middle College Instructor.
As the program has grown, so too has the need for Administrative oversight, so a new Director of Middle College has been added to the team. Judy Bowie will begin in this position in early January. Wesley Brown, who retired from his role as Middle College Case Manager at the end of the Spring ’22 semester, came back to lend a hand for the fall semester while the team searched a director.
All students who wish to enter the Middle College program must be referred by their home high school and then must apply for admission. The Middle College team interviews the applicants to determine if they are a good fit for the program. To be accepted, a student’s parent or legal guardian must also commit to the program. Behavior issues are not tolerated.
Now in its 14th year, the program is going full steam and better-than-ever. There have been 367 students who have completed the program with either a high school diploma (345), or GED/HiSet (22). This is an 80 percent success rate. Approximately 30 percent of those completers have gone on to enroll in college classes after graduating. As an extra incentive, the DACC Foundation offers $1,000 scholarships to any Middle College graduate who wishes to continue their education at DACC.
The program has grown steadily each year. Annual enrollment in the program has been between 40 to 50 students, but this year we surpassed that with 56. While traditional graduation is in May, there are anywhere from 10 to 30 students who graduate mid-year. This year, we are celebrating 14 mid-year graduates. About a third of the graduates are planning to enroll in college classes as soon as January.
We are very proud of the Middle College program at DACC and the work it has done to combat the “Million Dollar Mistake” for these students and our community.