Motivating Students to Succeed

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration, Business, Community, Workforce Engagement, Employability Skills, Postsecondary Transitions, Student Engagement

At a Glance

Parkway West Career & Technology Center (PWCTC) partners with Guardian Storage, a local company, to implement The Challenge Program, Inc. The program aims to support education and business partnerships and to motivate and reward students for developing strong work habits.


Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, PWCTC and the local company Guardian Storage collaborated to implement The Challenge Program, Inc., a regional initiative with a mission to build sustainable business and education partnerships, introduce students to career opportunities in their communities, and motivate students to excel and develop solid work habits ( It provides an opportunity for local businesses and industries to engage with local schools and CTCs.

The Challenge Program, Inc. outlines three learning goals for students:

  1. Learn about career opportunities, preparation and paths to employment from the local business partner;
  2. Develop solid work habits across five key learning areas (see below); and
  3. Recognize the relationship between education and careers.

Through The Challenge Program, Inc., Guardian Storage awards a total of $3,000 in cash payments to PWCTC students. The financial incentives are granted through 15 awards of $200 each and distributed across five learning areas:

  • Attendance,
  • Academic Achievement,
  • Community Service,
  • STEM, and
  • Academic/CTE Improvement.

An award is given to one tenth grade student, one eleventh grade student and one twelfth grade student in each of the five categories. (Ninth grade students are not eligible for the awards.)

In order to motivate students, the top students in each category are not automatically the award recipients. Instead, the awards are granted through a lottery-type system. A winner is randomly selected from the top percentage of students who meet the award criteria. For more information on the criteria used and the selection process, see the 2017-2018 Educator Reference Guide included with this profile.

To kick off the program and secure student buy-in, PWCTC hosted a pep rally and a presentation from a Guardian employee.  All tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students are registered in the program and they track their performance during the school year. The Challenge Program, Inc. supplies schools with materials such as posters, newsletters, and monthly announcements to advertise the program to students.

PWCTC Assistant Director Brock Snedeker is the program facilitator and coordinates with Guardian. To get the program up and running, Mr. Snedeker worked with the Challenge Program Coordinator, Myra Bernhart, who secured the business partner and facilitates the program from the Challenge Program’s end. PWCTC plans to continue implementing The Challenge Program as long as area businesses continue to be involved.


PWCTC is in the second year of using The Challenge Program, Inc. Administrators report that students are excited to participate in the program and business partners continue to be well involved in its implementation.


Parkway West Career & Technology Center

Brock Snedeker, Assistant Executive Director