Robert Ostmann

Second Place

Prize Awarded:
Laurel High School
Los Alamitos, CA

Project Description:

Over the years, Robert Ostmann has worked relentlessly to keep Laurel High School students in school. His latest creative business ideas just might have what it takes to keep at-risk students in class, as well as preparing them for productive adult lives. His "LifeWorks Studio" program consists of two components: 1) a student-operated small business that contracts with parent groups at other district schools to videotape plays, concerts and other events to produce professional-quality DVDs for the schools to sell as fundraisers and 2) a public-service partnership between students and a regional hospice organization to film and produce "LifeStory" video memoirs of men and women nearing the end of their lives. LifeWorks Studios moves learning outside the conventional classroom model. Running a community-based business gives students a chance to move beyond their limited world of school and friends to connect with the larger community. Interacting across generations and immersing themselves in the life stories of others will give students a unique perspective on the possibilities and challenges that life can throw their way. Over the school year, about 40 students will directly benefit by working in both the small business and the public service components of LifeWorks Studio. The project reinforces the Laurel High staff's commitment to keep their students in school and equip them to become productive citizens and lifelong learners in a technology-driven world. Ostmann resides in Los Alamitos. Brad J. Nelson, Linda S. D'Alessandro, Brenda L. Phan, Derek G. Rushing, Kathy V. Billet and Latishie L. Wodetzki (2008) Almondale Middle School Littlerock, CA Nelson and his five colleagues at Almondale Middle School are looking to foster college-going interest in students who are members of underrepresented populations at institutions of higher learning. Heightened exposure to career choices and universities, especially those that focus on the sciences, technological, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, will be the focus of their 'AVID UnSung Heroes: "The Future is Yours"' program. Students will take a scientifically validated career/personality survey, research careers that match and interest them and be mentored in reaching those educational and professional preferences. Throughout the process, seventh and eight grade students will be exposed to speakers from various local and regional businesses and universities whose career and educational choices match theirs. This real-world exposure will culminate with an eighth-grade research project that focuses primarily on college selection.