When a 12-year-old Steven Mitchell started his PCSD career at Ecker Hill Middle School, he had no idea that what he learned and worked on here in Park City would end up directly improving the lives of families across a huge swath of Massachusetts before he even completed an undergrad degree…But that is exactly what is happening.
Steven, who graduated from PCHS in 2019, started his post-high-school journey at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he studied finance and economics.
Now, after his third summer as a PCEF intern, Steven will have a new beginning. He transfers to Cornell University, where he aims to earn a degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. Then, an eye on investment banking or consulting for a bit, and off to B-school for an MBA.
But, back in Park City...
“I always used to see the ‘PCEF Supports This Classroom’ signs outside teachers’ classrooms at Ecker,” he said. “... but I was a senior before I first learned what PCEF does for Park City schools.”
That education came from his mom, a PCEF strategic planning committee member. She passed along the shocking information that Utah is the lowest-funded public education system in the country, and the state has not funded elementary art curriculum since the ‘80’s. Steven learned even more about how PCEF donors close the funding gap as a Student Representative for PCSD’s Board of Education.
He felt positive reverberations from PCEF’s funding during his three years in the Park City High School percussion program and his five years in the jazz program -- two of which were in the Varsity Jazz Band.
And then... a direct line of impact from funding, which lands him where he is today:
PCEF contributions allowed him to travel to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference.
“My team and I won 1st place in the state for [our] event and qualified to go to Nationals,” Steven said. “This experience, which was supported by a PCEF Classroom Grant, is what initially led me to pursue a business education in college.”
This summer was his third as a PCEF intern. During his first summer as an intern, Steven was assigned to gather stories from recent grads. This summer, he progressed to data, relationship management, and strategic work.
It’s his work from the warm-weather months of 2020 that inspired him as a sophomore in college.
“It was when I was reading Emergency Express Grant applications [last summer] that I was made aware of how the wealth gap limits access to education for disadvantaged students,” Steven recalled. “This is what led me to feel compelled to start the Financial Wellness Program.”
Last year at Babson, as a sophomore, Steven founded the program - and got it off the ground. The community service program provides “tried and tested financial literacy workshops.” It serves communities across the entire Greater Boston area - identified as 43 cities. Babson students apply, participate in training, and then facilitate financial literacy workshops for individuals and families.
“To me, PCEF is about making high-quality education accessible for everyone in Park City, regardless of identity or background,” he said. “I wanted to advocate for the needs of students in Park City and I felt that working with PCEF was the best way for me to do so.”
Steven had so many great things to say, we’ll let his words do the rest of the talking.
When asked about advice to current PCSD students, Steven had this to say:
“When you start a new project, a new job, or as a student at a new school, maintain the same intensity and determination that you have on day one throughout your entire time there. In other words, finish every project you work on, every job you hold, or your time as a student at every school you attend with the same drive that you had when you started. There are a lot of people who can start off giving 100%, but far fewer who can finish and still be giving 100%… they’re the ones who really stand out.”
And, to those who may be considering contributions to PCEF:
“I think the best part of attending the Park City School District is just how many different resources are available to students outside of the classroom to explore a wide array of extracurricular activities/interests.
These programs would not exist without the support of the Park City Education Foundation. 96% of Park City tax revenue leaves the district to fund education programs in other Utah municipalities. Consequently, we do not have the state funding to support many of the extracurricular programs… PCEF changes the equation back in our [Park City’s] favor.”
If you’d like to support the programs which inspire all Park City students to successfully reach their academic and lifelong potential, we invite you to click here.