The WOW Factor - Making an impact where you are

One of the ways we help our students get into their top choice schools, is by helping them find their WOW factor. The WOW factor, is simply this ….. “ What did you do to help others while helping yourself stand apart from your competition?”


We help our students find their strengths and talents and then explore ways to help them use those to benefit others or make an impacting difference for their peers, community, or the world. We help our students make an IMPACT.


Much like the impact made when you do a cannonball into the swimming pool, we hope that our students make lasting impacts that “splash” others with the benefits of their unique gifts and talents.

The Whale makes an impact that has outstanding views and repercussions, the effects of this impact can be seen and admired by many.

What does impact mean to us? the force of impression of one thing on another : a significant or major effect, the impact of one young life on our society, environment or lives of others.

As a student, you may have no idea how to find your WOW factor, but we do. We look for and acknowledge the unique gifts and talents of each of our students and help them see the potential impact they can make using these things to benefit others or the world. Time magazine recently wrote an article about next generation leaders, you can read the inspiring article here :

Our students have done amazing projects and acts of incredible impact over the years. The benefits of many of those are still going strong today. Here are a few examples:

One student decided to restore the park that she used to play in as a child. She had taken her first steps in this part, held her first lemonade stand and even had her first kiss in this park. As the years went by, it needed updating with fresh plants and renovations. She enjoyed many of her special childhood memories in this park and wanted other children to have the same opportunities. She raised money in her community and did a park renovation. Today, children are enjoying a new educational, safe and inspiring place to play.

Another student spent many hours interviewing remaining Holocaust survivors and published a book of those interviews. This has inspired many and allowed a new generation of young people to learn stories of the Holocaust from the eyes of a young person today.

One student held summer math camps to inspire teen girls to love math.

One student used her love of photography to help the homeless in her community. She took black and white photos ( with permission ) of the homeless in her community. She then held a presentation in her community to highlight the needs of the people in her community. People were eager to help, they didn’t see the reality and depth of the need until she presented it in a way that brought their lives into focus for the community.

Lindsay, did a book drive at her school starting in 1st grade. Each year, she donated these books to the local children’s hospital.

Another student hosted an entrepreneur seminar. He invited entrepreneurs to speak to students and charged each student $15 dollars to attend. The money was donated to a baseball league for special needs children.

Jonothan held a fish camp for young boys who didn’t have a male role model in their family. He had the fishing poles, pond and bait donated and allowed young boys to come for a day of fishing. He used this time to be a positive male role model in their lives and to teach them his love of fishing.

Other students of mine have had the opportunity to travel across the world and work in orphanages helping bring food and supplies to children.

Another student had the opportunity to go on a National Geographic photography expedition. Doing so allowed her to come back and share about the importance of taking care of our planet and the beautiful nature that surrounds us.

I share these examples in hopes that students will recognize that the things that interest them can be turned into amazing IMPACT opportunities to those around them. Though young, students can have significant impacts on those around them.

What is your impact going to be? What is your WOW factor?

The Ivy Coach recently wrote an article describing that elite colleges are looking for Change - Makers, you can read that article here :

There is no limit to the ideas or opportunities to be a change - maker. Making an impact can be done right where you are. You can make an impact with the people in your own home or you can travel the world, making a positive difference in the lives of others.

I have a friend, her name is Darbie. She is an entrepreneur who built a thriving company based on the fact that she wanted to do something to help women in India. She employees women in India to help in the factory that makes her beautiful designs. You can learn more about her here: She is making an impact daily while using her gifts and talents to make beautiful things that inspire others. She is an inspiration to me.

We want to encourage you to be a Change-Maker, a world changer and make the biggest impact you can, right where you are.


Sherri Morrison Graf