For the last three school years, NetApp RTP has been reaching out to local high schools on a personal level. The NetApp RTP High School Alliance is an employee founded and sponsored Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program that seeks to enhance the quality of education for local high school students by offering a variety of collaborative exchange activities with our volunteers. We focus on advancing the student’s business and engineering skill sets by exposing them to NetApp’s technologies and its culture. What started out as a pilot with one school, a couple of activities and a few volunteers, has now grown into partnerships with two schools encompassing five activities, over 30 volunteers and 300+ hours given to the program.
[Deepak Thomas and Ron Schakel project judging the programming class at Green Hope, Oct 2010]
The first school the HS Alliance reached out to was Green Hope HS in early 2010. The teachers were very receptive to this partnership and our relationship has been very strong. Chris Gaw, Anthony Pluchino, and Dennis Perks are enthusiastic Green Hope teachers who are always looking to advance ideas that would supplement their student’s education, including presentations, project judging, mentoring, club advising, and a work-in-progress algorithm challenge. Our best collaboration is the mentoring program, which is an email-based activity that pairs a volunteer with a student who is interested in technology and engineering, including an annual Meet and Greet where the students have a chance to visit onsite and meet their mentor. We have been doing this for two years and currently mentor 15 students, a couple of whom have been with us since the program's inception.
Our first NetApp funding came as a donation to Green Hope’s cyber-security club and helping them with their registration and club activity fees. We also help advise them when available. This Green Hope initiative has been in a local paper twice and we are excited about the results of this effort to date, and we're excited about what the future holds!
[Our first onsite mentoring Meet and Greet event in May 2011]
The HS Alliance also has paired up with Pamela Blizzard at Research Triangle HS. This school opened this year right down the road from NetApp and she was enthusiastic in reaching out to us. We currently are helping tutor their students in Algebra and have had three volunteers commit an hour each week for this cause. We are working on expanding our activities with RTHS as it grows to add grades 10-12 in the future and what NetApp can do to help its teachers and students.
The HS Alliance also collaborates with the NetApp RTP Students@work NC program sponsored by Greg Keller and Carol Hedley.
The HS Alliance would like to thank its passionate and enthusiastic volunteers for all the efforts they have made over the past few years. The success of the program had also been possible because of the great people at Green Hope and Research Triangle HS.
[Our latest onsite mentoring meet and greet event in Dec 2012]
By Vince Green (founder, co-sponsor) and Carol Hedley (co-sponsor)