For Give Something Back, community-based organizations are important but the people that lead them are the key to making sure our scholars arrive at college equipped with the knowledge and resources to succeed. Denise Harper-Richardson, Dana That and Craig Dorsi at Channel View Research High School in Rockaway, NY are examples of the experienced and devoted high school leaders currently helping our scholars get to college.
Denise Harper-Richardson has been with Channel View High School for the past 10 years and became principal in 2014. In addition to focusing on academics and a healthy social environment, she urges both staff and students to focus on “project-based community work.” Students are encouraged to reflect about how both the knowledge and achievements at school can create change in the community. Her approach of pairing academic work and giving back has nurtured some of our best Give Back scholars in New York.
While Harper-Richardson has set the tone for Channel View’s student body, guidance counselor Dana That works directly with 9th grade students and currently mentors four Give Back scholars. Dana has dedicated the past 14 years to a career in counseling, with seven of those years at Channel View Research High School. She is instrumental not only in helping Give Back recruit and select scholars, but also in guiding students as they navigate their academics—from selecting classes to tutoring. Dana finds that Channel View’s small school environment leverages more opportunities for her to develop personal relationships with the students and staff.
Craig Dorsi, who is the assistant principal at Channel View, also believes in Give Back’s mission of helping students finish college in four years. Dorsi is a crew advisor for students entering 9th grade. Crew advisors meet a few times per week to discuss college preparation, leadership development and personal challenges. He also supervises the 9th graders on a 4-day and 3- night outdoor expedition intending to build community and interdependence.
Harper-Richardson, That and Dorsi work with students to think critically and to problem solve. They collaborate to provide support and resources for their students and make a powerful team of advocates for our Give Back Scholars. The staff and scholars of Give Back are fortunate to have their dedicated, thoughtful leadership molding young lives through education.