Memorial Hall - September 3, 2010
Sophomore JMU Centennial Scholars (CS) and sophomore Harrisonburg High School (HHS) AVID students have a shared goal of graduating in the year 2013, but their program, “Class of 2013”, serves a much higher goal. The Class of 2013 mentoring program is designed to bridge the gap between high school and college life by addressing issues outside of the classroom that impact academics, and by encouraging persistence through school. JMU Centennial Scholars are paired with the AVID students to participate in a variety of events at JMU, at HHS, and in the community during the school year. When apart, students discuss books and current events in a Ning online social network. These activities help build meaningful relationships and allow the trained mentors to provide just in time support that may or may not be readily available elsewhere. The relationship between the high school and college students has been mutually beneficial. For some high school students, the opportunity to connect with a college student of similar background that has “made it,” is motivating. The college mentors have been described as the closest-knit, incoming CSP class because of their shared efforts on this project.
There are currently 30 mentors and 25 mentees in the Class of 2013 program. Thirty-two of those began the academic year with a lock-in event at Memorial Hall where they engaged in activities to help strengthen relationships and plan for the future. After a full afternoon of team building and reflection, the group shared dinner while listening to guest speaker Mr. Art Dean, JMU Special Assistant to the President, Office of Diversity.
The Class of 2013 program exists thanks to an IDEA grant written by COE faculty members Dr. Michele Estes, Dr. Jane Thall, and Dr. Oris Griffin in the Learning, Technology, and Leadership Department (LTLE). The Office of Diversity, the College of Education, and several campus organizations have provided additional support in the form of funding, services and supplies. Ms. Diane Strawbridge, Director of Student Retention for the Centennial Scholars Program, Amanda Francis (CSP graduate student), and Ms. Gail Collins (HHS AVID Site Coordinator) have worked particularly hard to prepare mentors and mentees for the program. The program’s success hinges on student involvement and so planning meetings will expand this month to include several high school and college student representatives, at the students’ request. The next Class of 2013 team building event will be a low ropes course at Harrisonburg High School on September 24th.
While Drs. Estes and Thall continue their involvement in the planning, implementation and support for the program activities, they are shifting their attention to researching the impact of the program. Their research circle has expanded to include more recently, Dr. Karen Kellison and Dr. Diane Wilcox, also in the College of Education Learning, Technology and Leadership Education department.
Find out more on the web:
The Centennial Scholars Program (CSP) http://www.jmu.edu/centscholars/
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) http://www.avid.org/index.html