At EPIC Academy, our first task is to open our students' minds to new possibilities, and to get them to believe that with effort and perseverance, they will achieve.
Every student's EPIC journey begins with STRONG START, a 3-day retreat for our freshmen class. At STRONG START we strive to move our 9th graders out of their comfort zones, from tackling zip lines and a rope course to a variety of challenging team-building activities. They meet their teachers and upperclassmen. They learn the value of collaboration and perseverance. And they get a preview of life after EPIC with a visit to a college campus.
EPIC students visit at least 8 colleges during their path to graduation. They are exposed to schools with the most selective admission standards (like the University of Chicago and Northwestern University), large publicly-funded institutions (like the University of Illinois at Chicago) and smaller, private schools (like Augustana College and Cornell College). Students also visit local two-year colleges that are stepping-stones to a 4-year degree or that provide career-oriented technical training.
Our goal---to help our students understand the contours of college life and the breadth of opportunity, and to begin the process of finding their home after EPIC.
At the conclusion of every semester EPIC Academy partners with business executives and professionals to show students what it's like to be in their shoes. Intensives are guided by EPIC teachers who prepare the courses and help design the interactions between students and mentors. Intensives introduce successful adults who are passionate about their career. Intensives show students how to launch a professional network. And most important of all, Intensives open careers that without this experience might be out of the realm of imagination. Intensives show our students that they belong in any world they aspire to, as long as they commit to the effort it takes to achieve their goals.
Past Intensives partners have included investment banks, high-tech research labs, music and video production studios, culinary arts, law firms, dance studios and medical facilities.