Hillsborough Education Foundation Opens a New Center at King High School to Help Students Plan for Success After Graduation

Tampa, Fla. – (October 27, 2022) Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) is excited to announce the launch of a new college and career readiness center at King High School, thanks to funding from Gopher Resource and United Way Suncoast. The financial support will allow HEF to provide high school students with one-on-one college and career planning and help with admissions and financial aid applications as well as career, technical and workforce pathways.

King High School students voted to call the new initiative SCOPE: Student Center of Postsecondary Education. By incorporating a proven model of a successful high school college and career center, HEF CEO Kim Jowell believes the team will be able to make an even bigger impact to meet students where they are to help them develop post-graduation plans and achieve success.

“We are grateful for this funding to help continue to build the Tampa Bay community and develop tomorrow’s workforce,” said Kim Jowell, Hillsborough Education Foundation CEO. “Recognizing and removing barriers in college and career navigation ensures all students in the county have access to achieving postsecondary success. The expansion of our college and career centers will help meet a vital need in our community and provide teens with one-on-one counseling and support. The results will increase economic mobility for low-income students and ensure Tampa Bay continues to be one of the greatest places to live and work.”

Brian Leen is President and CEO of Gopher Resource, a national environmental solutions provider. He described the catalyst behind the company’s involvement: “We wanted to continue to make a significant and positive impact in our community. Education is a great way to do that, and we were very impressed by what HEF was doing to help students prepare for life after high school.” In addition to financial support, the company, which employs more than 250 people in Tampa, will periodically provide employee volunteers who will be trained to assist at the center.

Members of the media are invited to join us for a ribbon cutting celebrating the center’s opening:

When: Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at 2:30 p.m.

Where: King High School: 6815 North 56th Street, Tampa, Florida 33610

Who: King High School students and Principal Arlene Castelli will join HEF CEO Kim Jowell, Brian Leen, Gopher Resource President and CEO, and Josh Dunn, United Way Suncoast Vice President.

Interviews will be available after the ribbon cutting.

“Community partners are a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to preparing our future workforce. Through concentrated supports, our students and families can better navigate postsecondary options while exploring methods for paying for college. We deeply appreciate this community support to ensure students have the foundation they need to plan for success after high school, whether that path is enrolling at a university, entering the workforce or serving in our military,” said Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis.

HEF staff and center volunteers will also help students and parents complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications. Every year, Florida high school students miss out on more than $300 million in grants. Research shows 90 percent of students who complete FAFSA enroll in college after high school, compared to 55 percent who do not complete the application.

In the first year, the new school-based program hopes to:

  • Impact 300+ students.
  • Increase FAFSA completion at the school by 5+ percent.
  • Result in 85% of the students we serve demonstrating proficiency/progress in career readiness and postsecondary planning.

“Our diverse student population will greatly benefit from this college and career center. To have a designated space, resources and support to help identify possible college and career pathways after graduation will be a game changer for many students,” said King High School Principal Arlene Castelli. “Researching and accessing this information can be daunting for families, so this removes barriers and opens a world of possibilities.  This new center will not only help students with their aspirations after high school but will have an immense impact on our community for years to come.”

Reports show students develop a career plan as early as 9th grade, but many lack a supportive adult to provide guidance, and the ability of high school counselors to assist students with college planning and address increased mental health needs of all students is impeded by heavy caseloads. HEF hopes SCOPE will serve as a model to be replicated in more Hillsborough County Public Schools in partnership with the district and additional donors.


About Hillsborough Education Foundation

Established in 1987, Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) is a nonprofit focused on strengthening public education by supporting teachers and empowering students to achieve academic and personal success. Together with our community partners, HEF strategically invests in initiatives that impact teaching quality, increase graduation rates and build equity in education—bolstering a thriving workforce of tomorrow and the sustainable prosperity of Tampa Bay. Learn more at EducationFoundation.com.


About Gopher Resource

Gopher Resource is a leading national environmental solutions provider whose core business is the safe recycling of lead batteries, followed by select household waste recycling. Through innovative facilities in Tampa, FL, and Eagan, MN, the company helps prevent over 26 million spent automotive, industrial and stationary batteries from going into landfills each year and ensures their reuse into valuable, new consumer products. For more information visit Gopher Resource.


About United Way Suncoast

United Way Suncoast severs the constraints that prevent families from thriving. We dismantle the barriers to human prosperity, uniting our community along the way. When we provide pathways to early learning, financial stability and youth success, we lift up families as they cultivate a future beyond the circumstantial constraints put on them. We provide choices. We provide opportunities. We create space for families to grow without limitations, elevating communities by building a future with equity for all. We are proud to serve the people of DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by operating and funding services and programs to help our community have the Freedom To Rise. For more information, visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org.


About Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools is the seventh largest school district in the country and the largest in central Florida. There are more than 250 public schools and programs, 24,000 employees and 220,000 students. HCPS is proudly celebrating the highest graduation rate in district history and all twenty-seven high schools were recently listed in the US News and World Report Best High Schools ranking report. Hillsborough Schools boasts the 2020 #1 Elementary Magnet School of the Year — MacFarlane Park Elementary, a Florida Teacher of the Year recipient, and a Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Winner. HCPS is currently ranked #19 in the state academically, the highest ranking in its history. Learn more at HillsboroughSchools.org.

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