3…2…1… and LAUNCH OFF!

Profession-specific mentorship program is far-out success


Submitted by Kennedee Henry

High school students from LAUNCH’s 2017-2018 Business Analytics strand pose professionally for the camera after completing autumn project.

Imagine. Create. Engage. Crowning the distinguished head of the LAUNCH logo is this maxim, a three word promise of purpose that stamps every one of its neon newsletters. Guided by five distinct principles–a dedication to profession-specific learning, professional skills development, introspection and exploration, entrepreneurial thinking, and community-centered responsiveness–the interdisciplinary opportunity allows teams of professionally-minded students to explore their occupation of interest while still earning high school credit.

At least, that’s what it claims to do to the multitude of students that clamber through its clear, Silicon Valley-esque doors. But for those on the outside who refuse to be force fed buzzwords by the school administration, the program’s allure and success seems less than transparent. Exactly why is LAUNCH soaring in popularity within our student body? Is it the new frontier of education? Besides having a catchy, spacecraft-like name, in what other ways does the program deserve its own space? To further investigate the success of LAUNCH, I required an insider.

Desiring an interactive and innovative experience in business, Ellery Prusko first registered for LAUNCH in 2018 with no expectations for its business analytics strand. Although not thrilled by the amount of advanced classwork in her schedule, it appeared to be a reasonable price to pay for the amount of real-world experience that she would obtain from participating in the program. As she worded it, “LAUNCH most definitely exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect because it was only the second year the class was being offered…but I never thought I would accomplish as much as I did.”

Along with developing her professional and time management skills, Prusko’s accomplishments now range from building a network to partnering with the Medical College of Wisconsin to improve the efficiency of their medical departments. “That project was quite challenging, but super rewarding. When we presented our findings to [the Medical College of Wisconsin], our coach said that we defied his expectations!” Prusko eagerly reminisces about the experience. “[The entirety of the program] is a lot of work, but in my opinion, it’s totally worth it in the end.”

According to Prusko, her outlook on LAUNCH is quite typical of Brookfield Central’s student body. In fact, it should be. If the purpose of LAUNCH is to provide high school students with an opportunity to experience their occupations of interest while earning profession-specific credits, Prusko’s diverse experiences indicate that this purpose is being fulfilled, and fulfilled well. By partnering with local businesses and developing employable skills like time management, every single participant has the opportunity to imagine wide, create big, and engage with their community in a way that has never been attempted in the classroom before.