A different kind of driver’s ed

Madhavi Madrid, Conexión Azteca

MINDDRIVE is a program that, according to its website, “uses real-world issues of our times to teach urban students critical thinking, creativity, entrepreneurship and how to improve their future by expanding their vision for themselves.” It is an out-of-school program that is on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and they also offer evening classes.

Conexión Azteca reporter Mahdavi Madrid spoke to Alta Vista students and teachers and MINDDRIVE staff about the popular program. Here is what they had to say.

MINDDRIVE helps students by giving them hands on projects that are interesting and engaging,” said Emily, the community relations coordinator at MINDDRIVE. “Every MINDDRIVE participant gets a fun way to learn teamwork, cooperation, responsibility and communication, as well as relevant skills that look great on any resume. Another benefit for students is the mentoring. We have one mentor for every two students, so each student gets to interact with successful people from the community. We find that this often helps a student that is unsure of their future find out not only what they want to do, but also how to achieve that goal.” 

“I joined MINDDRIVE because I need that education to become a YouTuber,” sophomore Gabriel Cuellar said.

It will give experiences that students probably never had, like building electric cars,” AV counselor Robert Lopez said.

“MINDDRIVE will help me later on when I’m applying for colleges, since it goes on my resume, and it will teach more in the specific topics I’ve chosen,” freshman Daniel Espitia Cuellar said.

“The biggest incentives for students,” Emily of MINDDRIVE said, “would be getting to build a car or make videos, websites and blogs as high school students! The other reasons that students have are meeting new people from other schools, having a positive environment to spend an otherwise wasted Saturday morning in and a trip at the end of the year to help the students see life outside of Kansas City. Oh, and the food! We serve a light breakfast and a full lunch to all of our Saturday students.”

“…I joined MINDDRIVE just so I can do something over the weekend so my mom wouldn’t yell at me for being on my laptop at home all day. And then I heard it was about technology, and I’ve always been fascinated by computers, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to pursue my interest in technology,” sophomore Roxana Rodriguez said.

“MINDDRIVE will benefit me as a student by allowing me to maneuver my Chromebook better,” Gabriel Cuellar said.

“I joined MINDDRIVE because I felt that it would be a chance for me to learn new things. The more I learn, the better!” freshman Susana Damian said.

It looks great on your high school resume. It would teach you lots of academic and college skills, as well as life and social skills. Plus, you will hopefully meet cool and awesome other high school students like yourselves,” Lopez said.

“MINDDRIVE opens many doors for students, whether they are direct (like one of our donors offering a job to a student) or indirectly through a making a big impact on the student’s resume. We also are piloting a class that allows our returning students to take an evening course that will end in a paid summer internship in the field the student wants to go into,” Emily from MINDDRIVE said.

“Besides the obvious, like being able to put it on my resume to help boost my chances on getting into my dream college, it could also help me enjoy after school activites more, and then I could be more involved in school and get as much out of high school as possible,” sophomore Rodriguez said.

“Well, it’ll help me learn new stuff, and I feel that whatever I learn, it can help me in school. I mean, who knows; I might be getting taught something that I don’t understand in school and then bam! MINNDRIVE can help me understand without me knowing they would,” Damian said.

It can be a great stepping stone for students to go to college or vocational-technical school,” Lopez said.

“I joined MINDDRIVE to experience and learn things [that] my regular life can’t offer,” Daniel Espitia Cuellar said.

Mr. Lopez says that he is very proud of all of the students who applied and were interviewed for MINDDRIVE. Ten of those students have been selected for the program.

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