Sparking the Dream Initiative: Giving Students a Seat at the Table

Posted on May 25, 2023
Categories: News

Denzel Perez, a senior at Northeast High School is interested in all facets of real estate and wants to pursue a career in the field. His classmates Jalyn Jaquez-Reyes and Maya Carrasquillo are interested in business and the law. On May 19th, they participated in Sparking the Dream Initiative, a weekly radio show that airs on WWDB AM, 860 on the dial and as a podcast to discuss their dreams, goals, and aspirations. The show gives students a change to chew and chat with professionals in the field of law as well as other areas and obtain valuable insight into the professional’s pathway to success.

The initiative came to fruition this year with a handful of members from the board of directors which include Joe Dougherty, co-host “Sonny” Banks from Banks law, and other notable attorneys with the hope of giving students opportunities. “These mentorship opportunities engage students so they can explore their own pathway, while being supported by industry professionals,” said Sam Yun, the Curriculum Development Specialist for the Office of Career & Technical Education. Luckily for Denzel, Michael Dolan–partner at Stockton Real Estate Advisors–was on the show that day because through the connection, he will be shadowing Dolan in June. Yun said, “we hope to encourage more students and their teachers to take advantage of this type of mentorship opportunities provided by the office of CTE and the school district.” High school seniors Jaquez-Reyes and Carrasquillo also connected with a mentor, Jeff Nerenberg, a partner in Nerenberg Law, where they discussed internships.

CTE programs at Kensington, Lincoln, Roxborough, and Martin Luther King also benefited from the mentoring opportunity. All of the students who appeared on the show will become part of the Sparking the Dream Initiative. They will be eligible for internships, mentoring, and more. “The Sparking the Dream Initiative has been more that we ever thought it could be,” said Joe Dougherty, co-host and a founding board member, “I am so proud and happy to see the students get a seat at the table.” Melodee Williams, Work Based Learning Coordinator in the Office of CTE was responsible and credited for bringing this initiative to the school district.

Click here to listen to recent broadcasts:

Lincoln High School with Stacie Johnson/ Accounting Teacher

Part #1 –

Part #2 –

Kensington High School with Eric Cruz and Shanell Lockhart

Hour #1 –

Hour #2 –

The learning and engagement don’t stop with the show’s broadcast. The CTE Sales, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship program will be creating public service announcements and advertisements that will air on the show. Additionally, Swenson High Schools’ Digital Media Production program under the direction of teacher Shawna Van Leer is creating a logo, and the students at Northeast High School will be manufacturing t-shirts and other apparel. The show provides many engaging learning opportunities.

For more information about Sparking the Dream Initiative or how you can participate, please reach out to Denise Magasich,