Datone Evans, KIPP NYC College Prep High School Class of 2022
Datone is graduating from KIPP NYC College Prep High School this year after navigating three school years of a mix of in-person and remote. Despite a high school experience unlike any other in our history, he remains excited for and optimistic about his future. Datone, who is from Washington Heights, has worked closely with his advisor to find a program in which to enroll after graduation that aligns with his interest in pursuing a career in construction.
“One of my favorite things that I look forward to coming to school is the Career Counseling Program because I’m eager to get started on my career. It interests me because I’m given many opportunities that I’ve never been given before. I want to take advantage of the opportunity I have.”
Datone has had a close relationship with his advisor, Mr. Baez, who discussed with him his options for pursuing a construction career, including what certifications he can gain before graduating to get a head start in his field of interest.
“I came to Mr. Baez. I explained to him my interest in construction. He sent me info sessions and a couple of programs. One was the East Side Settlement. What I liked about it was that I had gotten my CPR certification there. I had to take a four-week class for my OSHA 30. It taught me all the essential things that I would need to know on the construction site about safety, how to keep my peers safe, and how to do my job correctly. I really liked that experience.”
With multiple certifications completed before graduation, Datone is lining up workforce training programs for this summer that will put him on a path toward a full-time job.
“I’ve been going to many different info sessions. It’s helped me pick out the best program that will fit for me. I’m working on the The HOPE Program; they are able to place you in a paid training program where you have a guide teaching you the things you need to know so you’re able to get out in the field. I have to wait until I’m 18 and have my high school diploma. Once I have all of that, I’m ready to get started. I see myself eventually owning my own company. One of my big goals is to build a home for me from scratch.”
Datone knew that during the height of the pandemic that entering the workforce immediately after graduation was the best fit for him.
“I knew during quarantine that I didn’t want to go to college. So I made the decision: if I’m not going to go to school, continue my career then. At first, I didn’t think [my advisor] would be able to provide me with different programs or opportunities if I didn’t want to go to college, but when we sat down, he told me that college isn’t for everyone. There’s ways to start your career early if you’re not going to college. It was a really impactful conversation.”
He has important advice to share with other students who are considering their options after graduating from high school, in addition to passing along what he has learned throughout his journey:
“Advice I would definitely give is to focus on making yourself happy. A lot of people – especially in high school – are worried what other students may think of us, or how we’re viewed. Just focus on yourself. Make sure your needs come first. I’m gonna come back to this school and express the positives that I went through. My sister is a freshman, so as she grows up and she figures out her career pathway or if she would like to go to college, I would like to express how I went so she has two points of view.”
The partnership between Datone and the counselors at KIPP NYC College Prep has been critical as he builds his skillset and prerequisite certifications ahead of starting his construction career. Ensuring that Datone is career ready after high school exemplifies KIPP NYC’s mission to, “prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose— college, career, and beyond — so they can lead fulfilling lives and build a more just world.”