More than 100 local school children get an eye-witness view of college life
By Janel Shoun-Smith on 4/24/2012
|Lipscomb undergraduate education students led the school children on a campus tour.|
|Eighth-graders from Cameron Middle enjoyed the pizza in the dining hall.|
Sometimes it is hard to keep a dream alive when you don’t have a clear picture of where you are headed. Lipscomb University’s College of Education (COE) hosted more than 100 Nashville second-graders and eighth-graders to campus last week (April 20), to give them a real-life vision of the goal they are working toward: a college education.
Many of the students from Napier Elementary and Cameron Middle Schools experienced college for the first time last week. While very few of the students have family members with a college education, they have teachers who are encouraging college at a young age.
Emily Parsley, a second-grade teacher at Napier who earned her master’s degree from Lipscomb as part of the Teach for America program, and Julie Simone at Cameron, who works as Lipscomb’s on-site liaison at the middle school, wanted their second- and eighth-graders to see exactly what they are working toward as they reach for academic goals in both schools – whether it is reading or algebra.
The students ate lunch in the dining hall, went on campus tours led by current education students and participated in an academic activity similar to a college class.
La’Ashia Burleson, a second-grader in Parsley’s class who has overcome many behavioral problems to become one of the best students in the class, said “I’m going to cry if I don’t get to go to college right now,” after seeing the dorm rooms in the Fanning Residence Hall.
“We work hard every day in class towards our one goal: college,” said Parsley, who earned her master’s from Lipscomb in August 2011 and is now in her third year of teaching in Nashville’s public schools. “Our purpose here is to show the students exactly what it is we are working towards, what a campus and a cafeteria and a dorm look like. We want them to get the vision in their minds when they are 7 and 8 years old of exactly where they are headed.”
Burleson was also impressed with the many food choices in the dining hall, as was Enas Gerges, an eighth-grader from Cameron Middle. This was her first time on a college campus, and she particularly liked that Lipscomb offers small class sizes as well as communal dorm living.
“I am 100 percent planning to come to college,” she said.
Lipscomb’s COE is working closely with Cameron in the state’s first transition from a public school to a charter school process. Lipscomb’s liaison, Simone, has not only led professional development at the school but has worked with select 8th grade students to encourage algebraic thinking.
Taylor Whitsell, an education major from Sarasota, Fla., who led one of the student tours, said she wanted the students to realize that college is an option for them, especially with scholarships and hard work.
“The message I tried to give them is that if you want to go (to college), you can go, you just have to put the effort in. You can have all of this, but you have to work for it,” she said.
The College of Education also hosted Cameron College Prep in March. In May, a similar group of students from LEAD Academy, a Nashville charter middle school, will also be on campus to get an eye-witness view of college life.
|COE Dean Candice McQueen speaks to the Cameron Middle students.||
Napier second-graders were impressed
with all the food choices in the dining hall.