BLOOMINGDALE - Officials at Eastern Gateway Community College are taking the message that it's never too young to begin thinking about college by directly talking to pupils and students in surrounding school districts.
The program includes Laura Meeks, EGCC president, spending time with the youngsters, explaining to them what college is and why it's important to future employment. Meeks made one of her first stops in the Kindergarten Presidential Program on March 9 at Wayne Elementary School, and she brought with her a prepared speech, T-shirts for the young ones and even cookies after the program.
"We're working with all school districts in the county," said Angie Suggs, coordinator for college-bound prep program for EGCC. "Today's program is called the Kindergarten Presidential Program."
THE?IMPORTANCE?OF EDUCATION — Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, told kindergarten pupils at Wayne Elementary School what college is for and the importance of higher education, during a recent talk at the school. Meeks was representing the college’s new program aimed at fostering higher education ideals to pupils and students in surrounding school districts.
Suggs said Meeks would be visiting Indian Creek Local, Steubenville City and Buckeye Local school districts with the same message - future success begins by cultivating the idea of higher education in pupils early.
The idea is to "de-mystify" college and cultivate an attitude about higher education leading to success, according to a release from the college. The program also will include trips to EGCC and possibly other colleges for pupils and students to expose them to the higher education environment, according to the release.
Meeks began by telling pupils her own thoughts about what she wanted to be when she was their age.
"I was just like you in that I had a teacher that I liked very much," said Meeks, who asked the teachers where they went to college. "And then I thought about what I wanted to be when I graduated from high school. I want all of you to say, 'I'm going to college.'"
Meeks told pupils it was possible for them to go to college, even if they wanted to stay in the Ohio Valley to do so.
"You don't have to go away to go to college if you want," she said. "You can absolutely go to college, because they are right here."
Meeks asked youngsters what they needed to grow tall and strong, and youngsters answered her with positive habits such as eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep and playing.
"There's a different way to grow in your mind," she said. "How do you grow in your mind?"
Meeks told youngsters three essentials are needed to grow intellectually, including increasing vocabulary, reading and trying to find answers to questions.
"The best way to go to college is to be curious," she said. "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Meeks got an assortment of answers from pupils, including becoming a nurse, teacher, basketball player, boxer, a police officer, train engineer, crocodile hunter, construction worker, servicemen and women, a ballerina and even a zombie hunter.
Meeks told youngsters some college was necessary for many of the occupations they were interested in.
"You can be anything you want to be," said Meeks. "No matter what you want to do you are going to need some college. (Being in college) is easy. It's exactly what you are doing now."
For information on the program, call Ann Koon, director of public relations at EGCC, at (740) 264-5591, extension 117.
(Miller can be contacted at email@example.com.)