Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School has everything from arts to engineering and more

Through Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School's University Connection theme, students can explore opportunities and learning in four main College and Career Pathways, gaining hands-on experience that prepares them for their future careers.

Posted Updated
Abbey Slattery
, WRAL Digital Solutions
This article was written for our sponsor, Wake County Public Schools.

Most 14-year-olds don't have their future figured out quite yet, but Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School is hoping to lend a hand in making a plan.

Through the school's new University Connection theme, freshmen can gain experience and understanding in four main pathways — including design, arts, math and engineering, and humanities and social sciences — in addition to their general graduation requirements.

"When the students enter the ninth grade, they take a year-long course for a single credit at the honors level. In this unique class, students have the opportunity to experience all four of the pathways taught by rotating teacher experts," said Shanora Kingsberry, the International Baccalaureate coordinator at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School. "The teachers are specialists in whatever pathway they're teaching, so the students can come in and get that unique experience. We understand they're 14, but we try to help them plan for their future as much as possible by getting an idea of what they like and don't like."

Every spring, the University Connections class concludes with an event where students have an opportunity to interact with college students, as well as professionals in relevant fields. When students complete the course, they then choose a pathway they're most interested in, which gives them priority seating in classes for that subject once registration rolls around.

To ensure students have additional opportunities grounded in their interests, a University Connections liaison at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High helps facilitate partnerships with local universities and businesses so students have an array of experiences and opportunities which prepare them for a future of their own making. Students can visit various nearby campuses to better understand what a future in a particular pathway entails.

Highlights from last year's "university connections" include students who were able to visit Campbell University's College of Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences and take part in mock product trials while other SRMHS scholars went to North Carolina State University to participate in a NASA uplink to the international space station.

In addition to selecting a pathway, students may also choose to join one of the school's three academies: Engineering, Biomedicine, or Information Technology and Cybersecurity. While the academies are optional, they offer students a unique hands-on learning experience and complement the pathways without conflict.

"In their eighth or ninth grade year, students apply to an academy of interest-- then through that application, they are placed in a cohort and have a certain number of classes that they take together each year. The academies are highly encouraged, especially for students who have an idea of what field they're interested in," said Kingsberry. "The classes are college-level, and there are certain courses students are mandated to take each year. Then they do an internship experience at the end — several students have gotten job offers after their internships. That's a big deal for us because they're able to get experience, learning, and connections while they're still in high school."

With an already impressive selection of programs, the school is continuing to add to its offerings.

This year, they'll be kicking off their International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, a two-year, globally recognized program that develops personal and academic skills through college-level courses.

In keeping with the school's University Connection theme, the Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School has tailored the IB classes to overlap with students' pathways and academies.

Thanks to the school's relatively small student body, they're able to give students one-on-one, specialized attention in creating an academic plan — which Kingsberry credits as a driving force behind the success and growth of their unique programs.

"We have a smaller student body than a lot of the other high schools, which allows us to tailor the learning into a more boutique experience, as well as offer students more individualized attention. For example, at the end of their University Connection course, the counselors come in, meet with the students, and develop a flexible plan moving forward," said Kingsberry. "It gives the students an idea of what course sequence they might want to take based on where they want to end up, and the counselors can have these individual meetings with students and help them register. They get a bit extra guidance from an adult on what the best path for their interests might be."

Thanks to the comprehensive offerings and connections of the Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, students have a plethora of options when it comes to paths and interests. Previous students have had opportunities to do everything from displaying their art at the North Carolina Museum of Art to interning with top international gaming companies like Ubisoft.

One current student at the school — senior Gabriel Yarborough — has even found success on the primetime television series "Filthy Rich," a satirical drama on FOX starring Kim Cattrall.

Other artistically inclined students participate in school and local theater, as well as band, chorus, dance, and visual arts. In addition to the academic paths and programs, students can also choose from a variety of clubs and organizations, including Game Design and Strategy, Science Olympiad, Writer's Club and Yoga Club.

For Kingsberry, the diverse academic and extracurricular options Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School offers means every student has a chance to find their place and excel in the future.

"We have many things for the students to choose from at Southeast, regardless of where their interest lies or what type of young person they are," said Kingsberry. "We're able to help them find their way and flourish and grow in whatever avenue they feel fits best."

This article was written for our sponsor, Wake County Public Schools.