Madison wants to become an orthodontist, bringing smiles to people's faces, and giving back to a world that she believes has given her so much.

Jackson wants to learn about business and build his own company by leveraging his experience in leadership, and his interest in supply chain management.

Anna -Jonesboro Community High School is among the first of twelve schools in Illinois and Missouri to be selected for the Journey12 project. Before launching this multi-school microdocumentary project, we talked with hundreds of educators, parents, and students about the reality in transitioning to adulthood, and life beyond high school — as well as the preparation that goes into it. What we learned was interesting, and not entirely what we had expected. 

The big takeaway was that kids inspire other kids. When they see their peers dreaming big, they find it easier to dream big. When they see their peers playing small-ball, they tend to play small ball. When they realize that they come from backgrounds or situations not so different from kids who are crushing it out there, they tend to dismantle the limits, which previously held them back. And then there are the outliers; kids who have a vision for their own future that looks little like their peers. In their own way, and without intending it, these students open new doors for others, and create a toe-hold for new opportunities, across their communities.


We found that, in a sense, our kids are a little like animals with migratory habits well-worn by the pack, flock, or gaggle that went before them. Their choices are heavily influenced by those to whom they can relate. They're also very aware of the pronounced societal drumbeats of what 'constitutes success' and occasionally try to wedge themselves into compliance, square peg, round-hole style, rather than following a path better suited to their own unique circumstances. The right fit for one kid isn't necessarily the right fit for another. But 'fit' should be the goal, for all our kids. Maybe that's a four-year college, but maybe it's not. Perhaps tech school, journeyman training in the trades, or the military is a better fit. Maybe the family business or a student's own startup is the right answer. The point is, no two students need feel compelled to follow the same path as another kid, or someone else's defined path.


We all want to see our kids make the most of their opportunities, and we want them to have options. We want to see them making well-informed choices.

To that end, our hope is that, over time, the thousands of stories that will ultimately constitute Journey12 will provide students with highly relatable story-arcs from kids who remind them a little bit (or a lot) of themselves; who've made a range of choices that may serve as fresh ingredients in their own recipes, and who will inspire possibilities they may not have otherwise seen so clearly.

A word about the financial underwriting of Journey12: Journey12 is funded by the generous support from our featured communities as well as several regional partners. We do not permit our partner schools to directly fund any part of our efforts because we believe this may have the potential to unevenly influence the manner in which we tell and/or distribute our stories. Some of our partner schools have virtually unlimited resources, while others are on a shorter fiscal leash. But the students of all our schools have stories that resonate, and we want to be able to tell them, independent of a school's ability to fund Journey12.

If you are interested in helping to support the AJCHS edition of Journey12, which will incorporate the stories of 10 AJCHS seniors, please call us at 618-727-1233, email us at or simply follow the link at the bottom of this page to the sponsorship section. It works like any online 'store,' enabling secure, encrypted checkout, using your credit card or PayPal account.


The options for sponsorship support begin with as little as a $100 commitment. Upon completion, the project will be search engine optimized (SEO) and featured on prominent community websites — as well as our own — for a minimum period of 12 months, as well as in social media, and through 10,000 padded 11 x 17 inch fliers distributed throughout the community in waiting rooms, bank lobbies, city and county offices, and a number of high-traffic local businesses.


IMPORTANT: No business should feel pressured to support this project if it is not a good fit for that organization. MAKE SURE THE ADVERTISING EXPOSURE AND VALUE PROPOSITION MAKES SENSE FOR YOU!