STAMFORD — Over the objections of his friend, saying, “No, no, no, don’t say it,” Adonis Haughton, an incoming Stamford High School freshman, blurted out he wants to be a CVS pharmacist when he grows up, drawing laughter from some of the other students attending a weeklong seminar at the University of Connecticut Stamford.
The joke wasn’t that being a pharmacist is a funny profession. No, it hit home with many of the 30 students participating in the seminar because they had just heard a presentation on becoming a CVS pharmacist earlier that morning as part of their seminar on making the transition to high school from middle school.
It also hit home because of who they are and where they are in their development. They are 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds who are about to leave childhood behind, trading it for the slow climb to a reality that starts with high school. Part of that transition includes your dreams and how they will change.
As a child, you may dream about becoming something great. You see yourself as a globe-trotting musician or doing something heroic on a daily basis. You might even believe you can become the king or queen of a small country, but rarely do you dream of being a pharmacist.
But that’s the point of the Stamford Achieves seminar Beyond Limits, organizers say: to let youngsters see there is a reason, even if it makes them giggle a little, to dream of being a pharmacist. It’s a good job and it’s not easy to become one, noted one of the seminar speakers as the laughter died down.
Andy Sklover, Stamford Achieves director of advocacy and education, said the program came about as part of discussions that teachers, parents and students had during the district’s high school call to action.
Stamford Achieves, which is a nonprofit focused on eliminating the achievement gap between students in public schools, funded it with the idea that students entering high school need to understand they are laying the groundwork for their real futures as marine biologists, FBI agents, optometrists, artists and yes, pharmacists.
Teachers, administrators and counselors at the middle schools provided a list of students who might benefit from the seminar, who were invited to apply, Sklover said. The majority of students, he said, were viewed by their teachers as having potential, but who are mid-tier level. The concern, Sklover said, is that these are the students who might fail when they’re confronted by the bigger schools and the more demanding academics.
Adonis said, “Mostly B’s and C’s,” when asked what kind of grades he gets.
“Mostly ‘A’s,” he responded when he’s asked what he should be getting.
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