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Seeds of Health, Inc. Celebrates the Opening of the Tenor High School - Journal Square Campus

For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact: 
Marcia Spector, Executive Director - Seeds of Health, Inc. 
mspector@seedsofhealth.org 
414-390-0841 
www.seedsofhealth.org
 
Seeds of Health, Inc. Celebrates the Opening of the Tenor High School - Journal Square Campus 
Where The Focus is on BIG Dreams and BRIGHT Futures for 
Milwaukee Area Urban Youth
 
MILWAUKEE, WI  (April 29, 2022) Magic was in the air Thursday morning as Marcia Spector, Executive Director of Seeds of Health Inc. (SOH) joined staff and students from Tenor High School Journal Square Campus to welcome guests and speakers and proudly show off the new school. Thursday’s event was a long-awaited celebration, as the school officially opened to students in November of 2021, and the search for the location of the school had been years in the making. 
 
On Thursday, guests were blown away at how this former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel building was transformed into Spector’s vision for a student-centric design - thanks to EUA and Berghammer Construction. The result is a school that’s infused with color and inspiring murals and quotes, adaptable classrooms, a light and airy cafeteria, collaboration spaces, an amazing special ed room and a state-of-the art Project Lead the Way room.  In addition, the location is perfect, as the Tenor High Journal Square Campus at 918 N. Vel Phillips Avenue near MATC allows students to complete their high school education, and easily participate in the Tenor/MATC program.
 
Spector, in her opening remarks, acknowledged her early conversations with JoAnne Anton that led to the Herb Kohl Foundations years long support of SOH.  That support was instrumental in SOH’s ability to realize Tenor High School Journal Square Campus.

It’s all about improving the lives of Milwaukee’s Urban Youth.
The building is truly magnificent, but more important is the foundation of the school, which is its mission - to improve the lives of Milwaukee’s Urban Youth.  It’s quite simply, all about the students.
 
And at the heart of this foundation, is Marcia Spector. She, along with Co-Founder Dennis Conta (President, Conta & Associates), came up with the idea of Tenor High School, where students finish high school in three years and spend their fourth year taking classes at MATC (free of charge). As Spector opened the celebration, she thanked all in attendance for their part in supporting Seeds of Health & Tenor, saying, “You are all important to me, and most important, is that what you’ve done is important to our children.” For Spector, it has always been about helping children reach their full potential and realize their dreams. Giving back has been a pillar in Spector’s life. She took a moment in her talk to acknowledge how her parents instilled the value of service in herself and her late brother Michael Spector, and how it has been a driving force her entire life. 

The opportunity to thank those who played a role in Tenor’s evolution.
Many key players in the development of Tenor were on hand to commemorate the occasion. Spector introduced Conta, who has recently established the Dennis and Deborah Conta Scholarship Fund. Conta explained that the idea of Tenor was born through his desire to help reduce the dropout rate by investigating alternate ways to offer high school and vocational schooling to nontraditional students. In his research, Conta learned that to create such a school, he’d need to find a charter school willing to take on the venture. In 2004, Conta met with Spector to pitch the idea. Spector responded with three words that would change the lives of Milwaukee area urban youth… “Let’s do it.” With those words, Tenor High School began, and opened the doors of its first school in 2005 at Cathedral Square. Conta credits the success and creation of Tenor to Spector, “The school opened, because Marcia Spector is an agent of change with a vision. She made it possible, she’s a true visionary.” Thanks to Spector and Conta, thousands of students have benefitted. 
 
An Opening Event Years in the Making 

The creation of Tenor High School Journal Square Campus wasn’t without challenges. It took five years for Spector to find the property, and as timing would have it, the deal was made in the midst of the pandemic. Nevertheless, SOH forged ahead and orchestrated the build-out of Tenor Journal Square, remodel of Tenor Cathedral Square, and the close of another SOH school that was home to Tenor students… all while managing the COVID situation at Tenor and the other SOH schools. 

Tim Sheehy, President MMAC thanked Spector for the vision to create Tenor, and Dennis Conta for his timeless passion that “makes us all better Milwaukeeans.” He emphasized the importance of Tenor’s mission, stating that he has an enlightened interest in it as he looks at the City of Milwaukee and its 26,000 job openings, and noted that today’s kids would be tomorrow’s workforce and leaders. Sheehy credited Tenor High School to helping students fulfill dreams, exceed their expectations, and prepare for the workforce.
 
Josh Jeffers, Founder & CEO of J. Jeffers & Co and the developer who sold the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Building to SOH, was at the event to speak to the group. He praised SOH for their amazing conversion of the building into a space that motivates and inspires children and emphasized the importance of giving back. One of the inspiring spaces in the school is a science lab that Jeffers and his wife Megan donated. During his remarks, SOH surprised Jeffers with a livestream of class in session from the lab he donated. 
 
Spector also acknowledged Adrienne Woods, Director - Office of Charter Schools. Woods has spent 15 years working with SOH in some capacity. Woods credited the success of SOH & Tenor to Spector’s ability to choose great leaders, saying the effects of great leadership trickle down to the students. In addition, Woods took a moment to thank the entire SOH community for all the work they’ve done to help our children. She encouraged them not to stop, and ended her remarks with a quote from the mother of Vel R. Phillips, "If you really want it, don’t dream small dreams, dream BIG dreams.”
 
Someone who knows about helping students achieve big dreams is Tenor’s Principal, Theresa Yurk. Yurk has been with SOH for over 20 years – she began as a teacher, and later served as Principal of Grandview and Veritas High Schools, before her current role at Tenor High School. Yurk revealed one of the secrets to Tenor’s success.  “Relationships are at the core of Tenor’s success, and they’re at the core of Tenor’s 3 + 1 model, where students complete high school courses in three years and spend the fourth year taking classes at MATC. Tenor students are ready when they get to MATC because they are supported every step of the way by everyone at Tenor. The result? Dedicated students who have caught the attention of many MATC professors, who now request Tenor students for their classes.”  
 
Perhaps the best measure of success can be found in the students themselves. From the friendly crew of students on hand to greet guests at the front door, to the students serving food, and others leading tours, it was evident that Tenor students are proud of their school. Student speaker Ashleigh Contreras shared her reasons for selecting Tenor - it was a school with many opportunities and a had a community built around students. Contreras says that what makes Tenor special for her is the relationships – between teachers and students, and among students. “Every teacher has something unique to teach and offer, and the students are kind, creative and engaged.” Because of the MATC connection, Ashleigh has been able to take classes that give her a head start on her dream to be a Forensic Pathologist. 
 
All speakers were impressed by the hard work of staff and students at Tenor High School Journal Square Campus, as well as the staff and students that make up the other schools under the SOH umbrella of programs. In addition to two Tenor High School Campuses (Tenor Journal Square and Tenor Cathedral Square), the Seeds of Health programs include Veritas High School, Grandview High School, Seeds of Health Elementary, and WIC - Women, Infants, and Children.  Information is available for potential students at Tenor High School, or any of the Seeds of Health schools.   
 
About Seeds of Health, Inc.

Founded in 1983, Seeds of Health, Inc. is the only K4-12 charter school agency in the state of Wisconsin serving approximately 1,300 students in four high schools and a K4-8 elementary program. In addition, Seeds of Health, Inc. has the WIC - Women, Infants, and Children Program. The five individual and unique education programs serve a broad range of student needs – from at-risk to college-bound. Seeds of Health is Milwaukee’s innovative “homegrown” answer to imaginative, collaborative, and cutting-edge education options, with the vision to positively impact the growth and development of urban children. For more information, please visit www.seedsofhealth.org
 
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