Back to Episode # 4

high school, students, advocated, college, classes, community, called, people, opportunity, minnesota, ability, gordon parks, podcast, school, moving, paul, big, life, initiatives, develop
Liz Bolsoni, Khalique Rogers, Intro


Intro  00:00
Life After Now.


Liz Bolsoni  00:08
Hello and welcome back to the Life After Now podcast. I'm your host Liz, communication studies major at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. This podcast is a place for young people like you to gather information about education, and think about what it means for your life after now. You'll be able to connect with inspirational guests who have firsthand experience and expertise surrounding education in Minnesota. So today, I'm going to have a chat with Khalique Rogers. Khalique is the founder of Good Riddance life skills consulting. And today, he'll be talking about Postsecondary Education/Enrollment Options, also known as PSEO, and the impact that it has on students lives. Khalique, thanks so much for joining me today.


Khalique Rogers  00:49
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.


Liz Bolsoni  00:51
So before we dive in, I have a fun poll question that I asked all my guests. And if you have words of affirmation to your high school self, what would you say?


Khalique Rogers  01:02
No man. I can be long winded sometimes. So if I was gonna just say anything to my high school self, it was a quote that I heard, a gentleman that works in higher ed named Chris Edmond, he had stated that always stuck stuck to my memory. The words were "the only person that's better than you is embedded in you." And just for me, that just means so much about authenticity, and really, you know, looking at intrinsically who you are, and how you want to develop and asking yourself questions and challenging yourself to be just a better form of yourself.


Liz Bolsoni  01:44
That's great advice. To start with the basics. Do you want to just define PSEO? And why it's so important that high school students know about it?


Khalique Rogers  01:54
Yeah, absolutely. I would say, so PSEO is Postsecondary Education Options. And what this does is provides students, high school students, the ability to take college classes for free, while they're in high school. And there's PSEO, then there's CIS. PSEO is those options. I mean, now some of them have been online to take these courses, but they're also where you attend the actual University, and taking classes there, as well. And the CIS is College in Schools, which allows a student in high school to take those college courses at their actual High School, which provides more flexibility as far as transit and the ability to just stay in that school environment. I would encourage it, and it was something big that transformed my life, I would say, and it's the where I can envision myself going. College for me wasn't feasible as much as it was until I actually took that leap and tried something new.


Liz Bolsoni  03:04
Yeah, tell us more about your personal experience with PSEO programs, and maybe how it helped you get to where you are today.


Khalique Rogers  03:13
Yeah. So my journey started off, I was actually going to a alternative school called Gordon Parks. It's in St. Paul, right off of Griggs [St and] University [Ave]. Shout out to all the Gordon Parks High School alumni. As I was going to that school, we had took a particular test called Accuplacer, which gives you kind of a reading and understanding -- it's like a diagnostic test to see where you're at in your reading levels, math, science; it's all around the board. And after taking this test, like the results from the test, let me know that I was above high school education in certain areas, like in math and reading, things of that nature. So it was like, I could take higher education classes. It was a surprise to me, honestly. And so just after talking, just wondering what it meant, like, what could I do with this information on that? I had the ability to continue to grow and just like everyone else does, and I'm like, "Well, I know about college, but I just never looked into it." You know, because my peers and that wasn't something we talked about. And honestly most of us are, especially the people at school and my peers are just trying to make it through high school as we, you know, dealt with everyday life situations as well. Thinking of college for me, I just knew it costs money. I didn't have it, and like I don't barely have two nickels to rub together, let alone try to pace the, what, 1000s of dollars to learn learn something when I have more pressing things to attend to in my everyday life. And now, I just talked to one of my counselors and I talked to Paul Krieger at Gordon Parks High School and just kind of asked, you know, what, how feasible this was like, what would make this make sense. And now, as well, if you're interested, there is an ability for you to take PSEO or CIS courses, through the U of M [University of Minnesota], and through St. Paul College was the the two options that I want to choose from. And, you know, there weren't any students at the school that at that time that took these classes, so I didn't have someone to lean on and say, "Hey, what was your experience?" Or, you know, "How did this go?" Or, you know, things of that nature. And I was -- I wanted to take the risk and try it, you know. And I've seen all the benefits. It's like, "Oh, if you take this class, you know, if you take these amount of courses, this could save you time in the long run." Colleges are more susceptible to accepting you based off your track record that you're doing, if you get good grades during high school. It's like, you know what, let's try it. So, took a couple classes. Took a writing course, public speaking course, through the U of M, and also a math course as well. And that I did very well in those classes, passed them all with A's. It was a surprise to me. I was like, "So this is -- I could do this, I really passed." It took more accountability on my end, because it wasn't like a regular, you know, school class, but it gave me, you know, just understanding -- it preps you more for the world in a way, because, you know, no one's -- it's like we're in a safer environment in high school, where someone's like looking at your attendance and looking at your progress. But when it comes to college, you know, there's -- if you don't stay on your job, and you know, to be attentive to your schedule, and to, you know, the syllabus and looking into having foresight, what's to come, you'll find yourself falling behind. And those, like, just principles and skills that you learn just through taking these courses helped out a lot, you know, and just seeing where I could take things further.


Liz Bolsoni  07:28
So as you thought about applying or engaging in PSEO programs, did you know anyone in your family or at your school who was doing the same? Or were you the first person that you kind of, that you knew of to do this? And how has it changed your involvement with your community?


Khalique Rogers  07:50
Yeah, I was definitely the first one in my school, that I knew of that was taken [PSE]. There was a few others that took it around the same time, we were just kind of like, [the] pilot. We were the torch runners. So we were like, "All right, let's try this and lead the way."


Liz Bolsoni  08:04


Khalique Rogers  08:06
Especially in my family, as well. It's just telling my mom what I was getting involved in. And she was proud. She was like, this is a -- I mean, you're the first person to do this in the family. But my brothers, they had opportunities, but one of them was a musician, my older brother. So he took that route, which was successful for him as well. But I just was like, I'll be a school guy for the time being, I'll just learn in that traditional way. It was new. And the funny thing about it, like after I had the opportunity and was successful, I met -- who's a great mentor of mine, right now -- Joe Nathan. He works in higher ed and working in it for like over 50 years, has been a great mentor for me and plethoras of others. I've met people who are 30 years older than me, and he's their mentor, too. I'm like, "Man, he has your reaches touch many generations." And, so, as a shout out to Joe Nathan. After I had the opportunity, he actually interviewed me. He wanted to hear like, what my story was behind, and what was my experience. And after doing the interview -- it was a quick interview --from that process, he was like, "You're actually pretty good. Think you might want to, you know, do a tour and visit other schools and, you know, help other students have this experience like you did" And especially for Black and Brown bodies, you know, these programs, they're just not as advocated in inner city schools, as much as they -- I think they should be. And it just gives you the ability for them to see someone that looks like them taking advantage of these opportunities. You know, it seems like something that is an opportunity to them, rather than it not being advocated or just -- they can be presented [to]. And what I've figured and seen is that like, there can be that resource, but if it's not being advocated or pushed to the audience in a way that makes them want to move to action, or that looks like an opportunity for them, then you're missing a marker. So I found a lot of success. And just me presenting in and speaking to my community, inthe language that they understand. And, you know, being able to just connect, you know, in a personal way, as well, really helped influence these communities. And to see someone that looks like them taking advantage of it makes it feel like they can do it too, from the feedback I've been given.


Liz Bolsoni  10:29
So as you're saying, you know, leading by example, and being that source of representation for students of color, and Black students is really a good way, the best way to advocate for them and advocate that experience. So tell us more about the work you're doing now, nd how it impacts people like you, when you were a student in high school.


Khalique Rogers  10:52
There's been, wow, it's been a lot of work being done, since then. So, I guess, currently, the work that I'm doing now is -- do a lot of education reform, and just advocacy from the students point of view, and gathering their voice and their pain points and just their experience. And, you know, making sure that, you know, they have a seat at the table, and that they have a voice that's actually utilized, and not just heard and assumed of what their needs are, but comes from them directly, and is qualified and valued, you know, not just seen but not heard, you know. Students aren't typically a part of these processes. That's been the main focus of the work is to have student leadership. And, you know, there's a quote that anything done for us, without us, is against us. So I believe in that statement, as if you're going to work with a group of people, work for a group of people, they need to be a part of that process. So there can actually be progress in the areas that they need, and that are relevant to that community. And since then, I've worked on different initiatives, you know, Reimagine Minnesota, have worked with, you know, Minneapolis Foundation. I also worked on social impact initiatives around affordable housing. And that kind of stemmed from working within schools, and working on school projects, and with the community, and seeing how there was more barriers and just being at school, it was, you know, where does your foundation lie? You know, if you really start getting to know the students on a personal level, and just looking at them as individuals, there's many different barriers that affect their ability to learn. And for a lot of Black and Brown bodies, especially in the urban city, a lot of them, some of them, it's called -- there's like an invisible issue called, you know, just homelessness and youth homelessness. That's a big issue going on. And without that proper foundation of housing, how can you expect someone to learn? And for me, that was a big sore point that even as a youth, I experienced homelessness. And I wanted to, you know, shine a light on that issue and see how we can come in and kind of showcase it. So I've been working on just policy initiatives. How can we, you know, create an environment where they're heard, where they're supported, and where they have supportive housing and permanent housing, so they can have a better foundation. So they can actually sit and learn and focus on what's at hand rather than trying to survive. So we're trying to turn that surviving into thriving.


Liz Bolsoni  13:46
So connecting your work now, with education reform, and with affordable housing, and the relationship that they have, really, how has that been impacted by your PSEO involvement in high school?


Khalique Rogers  14:00
Yeah, no, it's been impacted a great deal. And I say that based off of -- it allowed me like to having these opportunities and even being like, sometimes the first individual within my peer group or environment to try these new things. It made me kind of develop leadership qualities. And that kind of did, because I found myself sometimes doing things alone, or just being the first to try something out and, you know, venturing off into a path that I didn't have peers that were doing the same things. But I never did it -- I did it with intent of coming back, and there's a quote called, we'll just call it Sankofa, and it's like, "You know, as you climb, give back." And with that mentality, doing these different classes, you know, PSEO classes and having these opportunities to see further, and have more foresight and develop a vision and goals that exceeded me being in high school. It allowed me to have more awareness too, and to see the issues and things in my community from a balcony point of view, where I can not just see what I'm doing and what the next person doing, but what we're doing together.


Liz Bolsoni  15:22
Yeah, it takes a really deliberate or intentional -- a person like you to find -- achieve success, and then want it for others and work, you know, to make it happen for others. So thank you for that response. So thinking about high schoolers who are listening to you talk and maybe are a little bit interested in PSEO. You've influenced them a little bit? What are the next steps? Who can they contact? And what questions should they be asking in order to move along this path and be involved with PSEO programs?


Khalique Rogers  16:03
Absolutely, yeah, I would -- first, you know, it's always important to not only just talk to your school counselors and people that are within your school. But also, just make sure like your family and friends and the people that are in your circle know about what you're trying to do, and that you're looking to get into PSEO, and to venture into college or just into higher education as a whole. Because not everyone's path is to, you know, go to a four-year university or a two-year. They may want to pick up a trade or a skill or something of that nature. But you know, what stifles that is the fear of the unknown. So, you know, the thing that pushed me and got me out there to try new things, and just to, you know, give something a try was the ability to raise my hand and say, "Either I want to learn this, or I don't know, but I'm willing to find out, or let's find out together." No, that's a real big thing. Because, you know, if you don't ask, like, how do you, how do you expect to receive anything? And those are the big steps, for me, it's just being willing to let people know about your vision, let them know about at least that you're curious about this process. There's no telling how far you can take it and who you'll meet. And often times, you know, you'll find you asking that question of how do you do something, you'll more than likely find somebody who's willing to help. You know, because that was a big part for me, it's like, I didn't always have individuals who were doing the things that I thought I wanted to do. So I reached out and found them, you know. It's really big on advocating, you know, and really, just trying your best to achieve that set goal is reaching out and looking for individuals on that journey. You know, that's a big part for me. That's like with the lesson plans that I create, you know, it's called a hero's journey. So you don't always have the skill sets. Like no hero -- it'd be a boring story if you had everything you needed, starting out, you know, right away. Like we develop and grow and find the things that we need along the way. And to do that, you have to start the journey in the first place. So you know, you'll find and you'll be blessed with the things and you'll gather what you need, as long as you're moving in that trajectory. You just have to raise your hand and reach out and let people know that's what you're trying to do. And the big thing for me, is even if you don't have that support right away -- my buddy said this in a rap, he was an artist he said, "If you don't see the light, then be the light." And you know, that's really big, and I'd just taken that step. Even when there's no one around or if you don't really have the support that you feel like you need, but if it's a thought, give it a try and see how far that can go. I'm sure there'll be people that see your light and want to help out.


Liz Bolsoni  19:09
Right, so wrapping up here -- life after now, like you said is life after instances, multiple instances in our community of police brutality, and police murders. It's after instances of violence against the Asian American communities. It's life after distance learning and such a new and just maybe scary way of continuing education. And so what is your hope for students in Minnesota and in our community, moving forward? How do we do better?


Khalique Rogers  19:55
I think it's -- even through distance learning and through all this civil unrest and just, you know, the veil being ripped down from what we assumed was going on in school systems, whether it's you know, achievement gaps and all these different barriers. We and not just that but just the barriers that affect people of color throughout this, this country. We're able just to see things clearly or a little more clearly and just understand that, that the problems that these communities are facing are not just issues that affect us, but they also affect, you know, the country as a whole. And that, if there's a need for us to -- the need is for us to come together in new ways and different approaches, because [the] old way wasn't working. So when we look at like, "Oh, man, I just want to get things back to normal." But then when you look at what normal was like, well, that normal wasn't serving,


Liz Bolsoni  20:55
Good riddance to the normal. Exactly, Good Riddance, that's the whole point. Good riddance to the normal. Yeah.


Khalique Rogers  21:01
And we want to transform that. And in order to do so, you know there needs to be proper representation. And, but not just being at the table, but being in forms of leadership at these tables. Because that's how you make the real influences and really make the power moves to keep, you know, to keep us at the table and keep these conversations going. Because we don't just want this to be a hashtag or something that lasts for a short season. But in order to make this real impactful change, we have to be here and stand on what we believe in. And for me, just moving forward, I just think that there's a big need for there -- for student voice to be a part of the process going forward, you know, for doing and working on initiatives that impact students, they should have a voice there and a say so as well. That's really a real big important part of the process.


Liz Bolsoni  22:05
So thank you so much, Khalique, for all of your wise words about Good Riddance and PSEO. I know that this is gonna be really important to our listeners. So thanks for sharing your, your expertise.


Khalique Rogers  22:19
So Absolutely. Thank you for having me. You guys remember just to support this work. If you want to continue to support Good Riddance and just the initiatives that we're doing, feel free to check us out at We also have a Instagram page, which is @goodriddancempls. And just check those out, you know, feel free to reach out and just thanks again and support this podcast. Thank you guys for having me.


Liz Bolsoni  22:49
Before we end here, I just want to give a quick shout out to our listeners. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today. This podcast is brought to you by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. I encourage you to dig into the resources mentioned in this episode, which you can find in the show notes on our website at Make sure to follow this podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts, so that you don't miss any future episodes. Until next time everyone, I'm Liz Bolsoni. Stay well, stay hopeful, and stay ready because you all are the future.

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