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CU is host to students from Louisville Urban League

By Joan C. McKinney
News from Campbellsville University

CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY - Students with the Louisville Urban League Project Ready program visited Campbellsville University July 27 touring campus, eating lunch in the Winters Dining Hall, visiting Clay Hill Memorial Forest and asking various questions about the university.

Thirty-six African-American students, ages 12-17 in middle and high schools in Louisville, visited campus to expose the youth to college in the Summer Reach activity of the Project Ready program.

Kevin Fields, senior director of the Youth Development and Education division of the Louisville Urban League, said the Louisville Urban League offers after-school programs to over 600 school-aged youth annually, with the signature program being Project Ready, the "college readiness program." The League works with students throughout the year and through their Summer Reach Program.

The League staff brings students to visit colleges and explore different career options for them, and Project Ready serves as a transition from high school to college.

Jimmy Houseal, education instructor with the Louisville Urban League, said the goal of the program is to impact the students' social skills and academic achievement and to expose the students to college life.

He said the Urban League wants to increase career readiness.

He said they have had a long-standing relationship with Campbellsville University, and they "definitely like that it's religious based."

"Our Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM)-focused Project Ready program is committed to preparing middle/high school-aged youth to become successful college students by making sure they achieve at a high level academically, have good social skills and have access to many college and career options," Fields said.

"The strong partnership we have with Campbellsville University helps make this possible; and, we will continue striving toward growing the pipeline of students who choose to pursue their education at CU," he said.

Houseal said his students offer diversity in race and learning skills to others.Wanda Washington, an African-American who serves as coordinator of Greater Campbellsville United, an organization that promotes equal opportunity, equity and positive relationships among all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, gender and political entities in the community and throughout the region, talked to the students and urged them to "pick up and guide" students and people they meet.

"We don't want people to fall through the cracks," she said, as she herself did. She told the students she had to repeat 12th grade twice and did not graduate from high school.

She then got her associate's degree, her bachelor's and master's degrees.

"I am proud of where I am," she said, and she told the students to be proud and happy and help others.

DeMarcus Compton, an African-American out-of-state admissions counselor from Greensburg, KY, told the students about his experience coming to CU because of the Christian atmosphere and the small class size.

CU has a 1 to 12 faculty/student ratio, and he said the average general education class is 30 students, and major classes may be as small as 10 or fewer.

"Professors get to know you on campus," he said. "You aren't just a number at CU. It is hard to let students 'fall through the cracks.' People love you and care for you here, and they focus on you as a successful student and person."

He and Jasmine Barnett, an African-American senior from Greensburg, answered questions the students had written out on index cards.

One was about the difficulty of classes, and Barnett said students need to be "ready to work." She said, "It's not easy here, and professors will push you." She also said there are plenty of scholarships and financial aid available.

One student asked if you could be late to class, and Barnett said there is an attendance policy on campus. She and Compton said students need to attend classes, be prepared and well-behaved and not waste time nor money.

The league brings students to colleges and explores different career options for students. The Louisville Urban League also gives students more options and experience in academics, social life, global and cultural awareness. The writer Joan C. McKinney, is news and publications coordinator for Campbellsville University

This story was posted on 2011-07-28 10:20:06
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