Palouse Pathways provides foundational plan for life after high school

Director start providing information to families at Moscow High School, expanded to community

Palouse+Pathways+includes+a+group+of+students+called+Palouse+Pathway+Scholars.+

COURTESY OF PEGGY JENKINS

Palouse Pathways includes a group of students called Palouse Pathway Scholars.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

Palouse Pathways is a non-profit organization established in 2013 that helps high school students prepare for life after graduation.

The organization is based in Moscow, and everyone involved is a volunteer, said Peggy Jenkins, director and founder of Palouse Pathways. 

“The purpose of Palouse Pathways is to provide college and career information and inspiration to local families and students,” she said. 

Palouse Pathways works with students in Washington and Idaho in the Palouse and Lewis Clark valley regions and extends a little bit out from those regions as well, she said. 

Jenkins said she started the organization when her son was a student at Moscow High School and was preparing for college applications. 

She grew up in Honolulu and did not realize how many opportunities she had that her son was missing out on, such as standardized test prep and colleges coming to town to talk to students, she said.

“When [my son] was in high school, I started providing information to families at Moscow High because I was the head of the parent group there,” she said. “With the school’s blessing, I would send out informational emails about the PSAT and why it’s significant.”

Jenkins said teachers and other community members were getting involved as well, and she decided to start up the organization as a non-profit. 

The transition between high school and college is an important part of people’s lives. Jenkins said she has always enjoyed being a part of the transition for the students she works with.

“Whether it’s college or going right to work, it’s a really consequential decision in life,” she said. “It’s one of your first big decisions and it’s incredible that you make these really big decisions at a time when you haven’t made decisions like this before.” 

Jenkins said Palouse Pathways tries to help students find different opportunities they might not have known about already.

“One thing we’ve been doing for years is really play up honors colleges,” she said. “We definitely see a lot of kids who pursue the Honors College at WSU and UI and Western and then they go on to do really cool stuff so that’s been fun to watch.”

Palouse Pathways has a cohort of students referred to as the Palouse Pathway Scholars, Jenkins said.

“These are students that want to put a little more effort into [preparing] for life beyond high school and want to do it in a community of people with similar interests,” she said. 

Gretchen Wissner, Palouse Pathways board member, said she works with the students in the Palouse Pathway Scholars program.

She said the program is a way to try to engage students more consistently in the programs offered.

Wissner maintains an informal Google Classroom to help students keep track of their work within the program, such as journals, she said.

“Every month, we ask them to write about what they’re doing that sort of relates to college readiness, self-exploration, career exploration, that kind of thing,” she said. “I do that, and then I help edit essays for kids, and even school assignments if they want.”

Wissner said she enjoys interacting with students as they explore who they are and what they are interested in doing. 

Jenkins said helping students explore their desires is her favorite part of being involved in Palouse Pathways.

“It really needs to be about them, what they’re looking for, what they need to thrive in college,” she said. “What makes me happiest is when kids see that it’s really about self-determination for them.”

More information about Palouse Pathways, such as the programs offered and upcoming events, can be found on the website.