Local program exposes youth to college life

JACKSON, Tenn — A local program aims to expose middle school children to college life.

The thought of college for 6th and 7th graders has many emotions. “It’s kind of nerve racking because we know it’s going to be us in this place going to be in college.” North Parkway Middle school student, India Bowman said.

Jamarrea Anderson said “Our teachers already treat us like we’re college kids anyway so we might as well get ready to see what it’s like.”

‘Mentor U’ is a collaborative program created by area colleges and universities. Students, 6th to 7th grade, from North Parkway Middle school toured the Jackson State campus for a taste of college life.

“It’s been awesome.” 7th grader, Kashenna McCullough said “It’s a life experience how you get to work with college students and learn and get more opportunities.”

Students were taken to Biology, Physics, and nursing labs. “They had effects of real people.” 7th grader, Sakiya Clark said. “I think it changed my career of what I want to be when I grow up to a nurse.”

Organizers say experiences like what the kids went through Saturday have a positive influence on the youth’s perception of higher education.

JSCC Dean of Social Sciences, Nell Senter said “It’s wonderful for the students, it’s wonderful for the mentors to be part of the curriculum to get these students thinking about character traits that will help them in their lives.”

One Jackson State volunteer, who’s preparing for graduation in the fall, said the road to college may not be easy but it will be worth it.

“There’s going to be things that will stop you throughout the course, but just make sure you always get back in there and work your hardest.” Coty Laudermilk said.

The five colleges who created the program are: Union University, Lane College, Jackson State Community College, University of Memphis at Lambuth, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Organizers say they hope to expand the program to include 8th graders for next year.

Categories: Local News, News