RISE Program to come to HHS


Brady Mayer future RISE Program administrator for the school year of fall 2023.

Riley Mize, Staff Writer

There will be a new program at HHS starting fall 2023, The Rise ( Rural Illinois Shared Education) Program. 

According to information provided by Courtnie Mullen, the program is designed to help offer students additional learning opportunities, including but not limited to dual credit, AP courses, courses not offered at their school, access to colleges, job exploration, community health curriculum, tele-counseling/tele-therapy, and connecting with students in classrooms around the world.

Principal Scott Dewar said that because the program is new, they will slowly release it to a few seniors. 

RISE will be a work in progress this fall,” said Dewar.  “We are going to start off small and slow with a few senior students who have flexibility in their schedule. RISE will benefit students who are interested in classes that HHS does not currently offer such as French, Spanish 3 and 4. They even have a law enforcement class that is being offered this fall.”

Bringing a new program to the high school also means they need someone to administer it. West Frankfort special education teacher Brady Mayer, a graduate of HHS,  was named at the last board meeting as that person. Mayer says he is excited about the program and can’t wait to start. 

“I am extraordinarily excited to get the opportunity to work with many of the teachers that taught me not so long ago at HHS and to work hard for the community that supported me as I grew up,” Mayer said. “Coming to a new school, in a new (sort of new) town, and stepping into a new program comes with a lot of unknowns, a lot of newness, and obviously a lot of unforeseen challenges– there is a level of nervousness with all of the new, but I love to take on challenges, especially challenges that are in line with what I went into the field of education to do.”

 Mayer feels confident in spite of the drastic change in his job responsibilities. 

“I don’t have a ton of worries and nothing that I have observed so far would classify as a legitimate worry in my mind,” said Mayer. “However,I am motivated by seeing young people succeed. I am most excited to impact as many students as I can in a positive way and hopefully help them grow into the young adults that they truly want to be.”

According to Unit 3 curriculum coordinator Natalie Fry, the program offers students a wide variety of new learning opportunities.

“The district was afforded this new learning opportunity through the Rural Illinois Shared Education (RISE) grant. This state-of-the-art technology can potentially be used to offer dual credit courses, advanced placement courses, STEM opportunities for students, professional development opportunities for our teachers and virtual field trips for students of any age,” Fry said. “With that said, it depends on how Harrisburg utilizes the technology to create different learning opportunities in the years to come.”

Sometimes students turn away an opportunity because they don’t know if they are going to enjoy what something has to offer. Mayer says there are plenty of things inside the RISE Program the students that participate will enjoy. 

“I feel that the students will most enjoy the positive community aspect of the program,” said Mayer. “I feel that the students will build positive relationships that will enable a lot of their success and will be a positive point in their high school experiences.”

Dewar would eventually like other HHS teachers to provide instruction through the RISE Program.

“Mr. Mayer has an extensive technology background that will be beneficial in this classroom,” said Dewar. “Eventually we would like some of our teachers to offer their classes within the RISE program as well.” 

When it comes down to starting a different career path many can be scared but not for Mayer, he says he is ready to take on the opportunity after being with at West Frankfort for five years.

“I am excited for the change in my career,” said Mayer. “The past five years have been an absolute joy and I have accomplished some things that I have always dreamed of accomplishing.  I hate to leave my previous job, but I feel the career change will come with an increased opportunity to do what I love.”