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Cooper High School, SEA School Students Dream Big

On Tuesday, through a program called Cooper Cares, high school students partnered with elementary school students to inspire and motivate them to succeed.

Students at Golden Valley's School of Engineering and Arts weren't afraid to share their dreams with Cooper High School students this week.

"I want to be a doctor," one child said. "I want to be a baseball player," another said. A nurse, chef, dentist and photographer were responses that quickly followed.

The exercise was part of Cooper Cares, a volunteer program through Cooper High School that focuses on service learning. On Sept. 18, more than 250 Cooper students volunteered in six Robbinsdale Area Schools.

"The purpose of Cooper Cares is to give high school students an opportunity to give back," said Carrie Geise, college preparation and service learning coordinator at Cooper High School. "We want to encourage students to be life-long partners with the community."

Students between 10th and 12th grade can sign up for the Cooper Cares program, which usually fills up on the first day of registration. "Any student can be part of this group," Geise said. "Service is how we define ourselves at Cooper."

At the School of Engineering and Arts, pairs of Cooper High School students worked with children of all ages, encouraging them to think about their dreams. High school students read a book called "Dream," by Susan Bosak, before diving into an exercise where children had to think about goals and how to achieve them.

Cooper High School seniors Jamela Branch and Earnisa Cook worked in teacher Carrie Ehn's 5th grade classroom, answering questions from curious students.

While this was the third year that Cooper Cares has dedicated a full day to service, working in the classroom isn't the only thing the group does. On 9/11, students volunteered at Kids Against Hunger and students often partner with Golden Valley's Honeywell to volunteer in the community.

"This year, we’re challenging our students to complete 1,500 hours of service," Geise said. "Our program really prepares students for success and teaches the importance of role modeling."

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