Team and Family Spotlight - December 2018


KIPP Minnesota makes a commitment to all students when they enroll that we will support them even after they are promoted from 8th grade and continue on their path to and through college and career. This commitment is embodied through our KIPP Through College (KTC) program. KTC Minnesota currently has three full-time staff dedicated to supporting and assisting students. Those counselors help students research and apply to college-prep high schools, navigate the ACT and college application processes, and persist through the many challenges that students often face in college.

One of these KIPP alumni is Jaylen Cargill. Jaylen graduated from KIPP North Star Academy in 2016 after attending for 7th and 8th grade. He and his sister Ahjahlai, who also attended KIPP North Star Academy, both now attend Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis.

While at KIPP, Jaylen's teachers uncovered a learning challenge that hadn't been identified at his earlier schools. Jaylen’s favorite teacher and basketball coach, Mr. Wepsala, recalled Jaylen’s response to learning that he would have to work even harder: “That can set a lot of students back, but it didn't phase him and he pushed himself so hard to be successful.” With the help of support staff at KIPP, Jaylen persisted and got into Cristo Rey. “When he sets a goal for himself, whether it is academic or athletic, he is fully committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve that goal,” Mr. Wepsala stated.

Now as a high school junior, his KTC counselor Ms. Squire is working with Jaylen to prepare for standardized tests, determine his college wish lists, and explore career interests.

Jaylen, whose favorite classes are chemistry and advanced algebra, has determined that he wants to attend Santa Clara University or Virginia Tech and study computer engineering. He’s attracted to the career and income stability within computer engineering. From his college research, he knows that Santa Clara University works to set up abundant internships for students, so he may be able to get a job right after he graduates from the very place he interns.

As far as one-the-job experience, Jaylen is ahead of the game. Cristo Rey provides both a college preparatory academic experience and four years of professional work experience so Jaylen has been interning at local corporations one day a week throughout his high school career. Last year, Jaylen worked as a cashier at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. His freshman year, and this year, he is working at RSM, an audit, tax, and consulting firm, where he helps with filing, making spreadsheets, and arranging meetings.

Though he’s too modest to brag about it, Jaylen has played on the varsity basketball team at Cristo Rey since his freshman year. He is considering college basketball but is uncertain if he wants to play at that level.


Mr. Wepsala fondly remembers Jaylen as a resilient leader: “Jaylen Cargill is one of the most earnest students to have attended KIPP North Star Academy… Along with a steadfast focus on his academics and athletics, Jaylen is a leader. When he takes action people follow.”

When asked about his time at KNSA, Jaylen said, “They really cared about us. They didn’t just care about our grades. They cared about us as a person.”

This care and love for our students doesn’t stop when they graduate from our school. We are committed to KIPP students from the moment they step in our classrooms to the moment they graduate from college - that’s the KIPP Through College commitment.

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