Top 11 Tips for Back to High School

These tips will help you keep everything on track all semester long by starting out organized, with a plan and with right goals in mind.

Heading back to high school? Whether you’re a high school junior or a senior these tips will help you quickly get into gear for fall semester in terms of your classes, the college admissions process, test prep and, of course, your scholarship search. Yes – there’s a lot to remember – but these tips will help you keep everything on track all semester long by starting out organized, with a plan and with right goals in mind:

1. Check in with your guidance counselor

Your guidance counselor can help keep you on track with your college admissions process and ensure you’re on track to graduate with the right courses to meet both your graduation requirements and look good on your college applications. Stop and check in to make sure you’re on the right path to achieving your goals, at the very minimum, each semester.

2. Set semester goals

How do you know where you’re headed if you haven’t mapped out a goal plan for yourself? Create concrete goals for this (and each) semester to work towards achieving. Try to include your classes, the college admissions process and applying for scholarships within your goals.

3. Befriend your teachers (you’ll need recommendation letters soon!)

Start the semester out on a good note with your teachers and talk to them before, during (through class participation) and after class. Remember, you’ll need teachers who know your unique personality when it comes time for recommendation letters, so getting to know each of your teachers on a personal level will certainly come in handy.

4. Map out deadlines, due dates and other important reminders in your schedule

Whether you decide to utilize an agenda, a calendar or your phone, make use of some sort of planner to keep track of important dates and deadlines from syllabus you receive in class, standardized testing dates, important admissions deadlines and any scholarship reminders. If you take the time to set it all up at once and get into the habit of continually updating it as necessary, it will become much easier to keep track of everything you need to remember.

5. Set up a study routine

As you prepare to head to college, creating a study routine becomes increasingly important to your college preparations. Try to set aside a certain amount of time each evening focused your classes and, on certain nights, college admissions or your scholarship search. Continue this practice until it becomes second nature.

6. Start researching colleges you’re interested in

Now is the time to begin exploring colleges. Create a list of what you’d like in a school and begin researching what schools you’re thinking about applying to. Do they meet the criteria on your list? You can start to cross off the schools on your list that don’t, move up the schools on your list that do and you may even discover, through your research, schools you are interested in that you didn’t even know you liked!

7. Challenge yourself

It’s important to colleges that you continue to challenge yourself throughout your junior and senior years of high school. This is in reference to academics but, also, in terms of extracurricular activities, high school clubs, part-time jobs and volunteer work. Try to keep as busy as possible and remember that you want your college applications to be as full as possible. That being said, don’t join just to join – you actually have to participate.

8. Work on college test prep regularly

As mentioned with creating a study routine, maintain a healthy regime of ACT/SAT prep. You can decide to take a course in-person or online, utilize practice tests, books or questions at home or use flashcards on the go. There are many ways to study, simply choose whatever works best for you on any given day and stick with it! 9. Connect with friends Why? Friends can help with your overall experience because they understand everything you’re going through. Not only can they can console your back to school blues, but they make going back to school much less painful. Plus, once the semester gears up, your good friends will be the ones to help you stay focused (study buddies, anyone?).

10. Search – and apply for – scholarships on a regular basis

Between classes, studying for standardized exams and the college admissions process, it can be easy to put the scholarship search on the back burner. That, however, is a big mistake. As you know, the scholarship search is ultimately a numbers game. The more you apply to, the better your chances are of winning. So, if you don’t apply, you won’t win. It’s as simple as that. Set aside time (we recommend weekly) to apply for a minimum number scholarships – that will be your weekly scholarship goal. Ensure you meet your goal each week throughout the school year – it can go a long way to helping you pay for college (we don’t have to tell you how expensive that can be).

11. Start brainstorming college admissions essay topics

Whether you’re a high school junior or a high school senior, college admissions essays are coming. Start thinking – and perhaps even jotting down – ideas for your college admissions essays. Since you’re not sure of what the essay prompts may be, start with any unique experiences you’ve had, what defines you, what drives you and what type of career passions you’d like to pursue.

Source: FastWeb

Overtown Music & Arts Festival T.E.E.S. Youth Zone

Last Saturday, the Overtown Community was filled with thousands of festival goer’s for the 6th Annual Overtown Music & Arts Festival.

While grown folk enjoyed the musical performances of Melanie Fiona, Tito Puente Jr, Tank, Pleasure P, Jagged Edge, Ne-Yo, Deep Fried Funk Band and more, the younger demographic hung out in the T.E.E.S. Youth Zone.

This year’s Youth Zone did not host a musical performance stage but the activities were in full effect. From the Gaming Truck which hosted up to 28 youth/adults at a time to the What’s Cooking Village sponsored by Aldi’s where Chef Lo Taylor, Chef Lukas, and Chef Kirk provided hands on cooking classes. Kids learned to make Chicken Stir Fry, Fried Chicken Sushi Rolls, and Soft Baked Sugar Cookies where kids were able to take their own cookie dough home for baking later.


A very special thanks to the following providers in the Arts & Craft Village:

University of Miami Parent & Child Interaction - Silly Putty creation along with stress balls

Home Depot - building of bird houses and other wood working take home crafts

James Wilson Medical Society - Slime making

Bass Museum - take home art kits and on-site games

Marvin Weeks - air brushing

T.E.E.S. Volunteers - DIY Race Cars & Bracelets, Clay Art, and Finger Puppets

A special thank you to DeMarco of Domination Fitness for volunteering his services for the 5th year in a row to program all activities in the Fitness Village. Youth participating in the fitness activities were awarded medals and gift cards from DTLR/Villa representatives.

All in all it was a fun-filled day of bounce houses, food, arts & crafts, fitness, and gaming in the youth zone.

A very very special thank you to our Youth Zone sponsors: Green Family Foundation, DTLR/Villa, Headliner Market Group, and Bam Adebayo’s BBB (BAM, Books & Brotherhood) Foundation.

Click Here For Pictures


Saturday, October 20, 2018- Overtown, FL / / Teens Exercising Extraordinary Success presented their first Lunch N Learn, on Saturday, October 20th at the Overtown Performing Arts Center, with high school seniors and college students from Miami Dade County. This quarter’s topic was centered around the “Science of Business.” Headliner Market Group and House of Wings were contributing sponsors to help create the ambiance of the Lunch N Learn. Students were greeted and given a name tag at the check in table. From there, students found a seat and started to network while being served free lunch provided by House of Wings.

Christopher Norwood, founder and CEO of Norwood Consulting Group, introduced a 20-minute clip from the documentary, Student Athlete, produced by Lebron James. Participating panelists included; Michael Gardner, CEO of Headliner Market Group, Mussaddiq Muhammad, founder/CEO House of Wings, Kristin Campbell, NFL Agent, CEO of 40 Sports & Entertainment Group, and Edgerrin James, Retired All Pro former NFL player. All panelists were able to relate personally to many topics in the film and shared their personal experiences or how the experiences resonated to someone they knew.

Kristin Campbell, a certified NFL Agent, and the first African American woman to successfully negotiate the contract to make two-time Pro Bowler and Atlanta Falcon, Devonta Freeman the highest paid Running Back in the NFL, stated “These guys are so wrapped up into making it to the NFL, once they do, and have this lump sum check, they don’t know what to do with it.” The documentary highlighted an incident at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where athletes were placed into fake classes to maintain the GPA on the team’s roster. Mrs. Campbell went further to say, “All they know is I want to play football professionally, they forget to look at the bigger picture.” After, football or just in general life, when you want to create a business being financially smart is important.

When finding an investor for your company, creating a solid business plan is key. “You got to know what you’re talking about and know how you’re going to spend someone else’s money, if you don’t know how to spend it neither would your investor, if anything if the idea is good enough they might take your idea and actually come up with a strategic business plan.” Panelist Mussaddiq added. Each panelist had a different educational background. Campbell and Gardner obtained their degrees; Muhammad and James do not have a degree but have educated themselves through passion, hard work, and reading which has made them successful businessmen. Having a business takes the same amount of hard work regardless of whether or not you have a degree. Each panelist shared their struggles and mistakes which ultimately became the keys to their success. Gardner told the story of his first party where he lost all his investor’s money. “Trial and error is how I learned and it’s what has gotten me to where I currently am.” Muhammad said he loved chicken wings and after he realized he couldn’t become a lawyer, he decided why not make money from something I love. James stated that everything he has learned has been through reading, he told the audience that “Reading is the best mentor you will never meet”

There were many interesting stories and points made throughout the discussion. Afterwards students were given a chance to mix and mingle with the panelists, one on one. The engagement was so intense that everyone hung around for over an hour after the program ended, absorbing more jewels from the panelists. Be sure to be on the look out of the next T.E.E.S Lunch N Learn, you won’t only leave with more knowledge but also with a newfound understanding of what is required to be successful, directly from successful business owners.

Registration Now Open for High School Seniors & College Students

Lunch N’ Learn is a quarterly event that provides an opportunity for students to engage in an open informal discussion with successful entrepreneurs. Students will gain valuable insight and knowledge in an up close and personal setting.

Knowledge is FREE and so is lunch

(courtesy of House of Wings)

This Quarters’ Lunch N’ Learn Is Sponsored by

REMINDER: Registration Now Open for 2018/2019 Teen Table Talks Sessions

Teen Table Talks is an interactive conversation with middle and high school teens focusing on social and community issues affecting their lives.  In addition we help youth find their dreams through character development.  Our goal is to empower teens to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of their communities.  

Students who register AND attend will be guaranteed admittance and participation in our quarterly TEEN TALKS with 99 Jamz, as well as other special events/activities throughout the year!


Registration Now Open for 2018/2019 Teen Table Talks Sessions

Teen Table Talks is an interactive conversation with middle and high school teens focusing on social and community issues affecting their lives.  In addition we help youth find their dreams through character development.  Our goal is to empower teens to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of their communities.  

Students who register AND attend will be guaranteed admittance and participation in our quarterly TEEN TALKS with 99 Jamz, as well as other special events/activities throughout the year!



Press Release



Miami, FL, March 19, 2018: North Miami Beach, Liberty City and Little Haiti played host to the Smart n’ Up Summit Spring Pop Up Tour this week.  The event was coordinated by the local nonprofit Teens Exercising Extraordinary Success (T.E.E.S.).

Special guest speakers engaged with the teens through interactive demonstrations ranging from proper decision making, commitment, and conflict resolution.  Deric Muhammad from Houston Texas used a befitting analogy about their current or past life experiences.  Do Not let your past finesse you out of your Future” as he shared his testimonial of growing up without a father and a drug addicted mother.

Silky Slim from Baton Rouge, Louisiana shared his personal testimony of life in prison, bad choices, and his life transformation.  The most poignant moment was when he opened his accordion folder to reveal his criminal rap sheet which adorned the floor similar to that of a scroll and also his power point presentation which contained graphic images of the results of gang life.  He advised the youth that “there is nothing glamorous about bodies, prison life and how many of the rap artists that they admire don’t do half of the things that they promote, it’s a business not a lifestyle”.

Students, Parents, and their mentors enjoyed complimentary dinner courtesy of Wing Stop North Miami Beach, House of Wings Overtown (Liberty City), and A Purple Leaf Experience (Little Haiti).  Each attendee received a Smart n’ Up gift bag containing a Smart n’ Up Miami T-Shirt, a notebook and T.E.E.S. pen which they used to take notes and/or write down questions for the Q&A afterwards.  Entrepreneur Community Activist, Football Coach, and Rapper, Luther Campbell was on hand at the Liberty City summit and said a few words to the youth in attendance, including youth from his Optimist program.  Icebreaker activities took place where attendees were asked a variety of black history questions.  Correct responses won an autographed book from Uncle Luke and/or a 305 Facts t-shirt courtesy of Crave Couture.  

On Friday (their only free day), the guest speakers, who always donate their time, were treated to a deep sea fishing excursion courtesy of a private donor and on Saturday they dined at the Prohibition Speakeasy, courtesy of Headliner Market Group.  Transportation services were provided by WisingUp Apparel.

Smart n’ Up was a free event and made possible through the financial support of Commissioner Hardemon’s Anti-Poverty Initiative (Liberty City & Little Haiti only), Headliner Market Group, and House of Wings Overtown.


About T.E.E.S. (Teens Exercising Extraordinary Success)

T.E.E.S., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, sponsors weekly Table Talk Sessions for Middle School and High School Students. Our goal is to empower youth to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of their communities.  Focus is placed on personal worth, exercising sound decisions based on evidence, accountability for one’s actions and choices, and discussion of society’s mixed messages.