For the third year in a row, middle school students from the Geneva City School District (GCSD) will get a sneak peak at college life and valuable advice during a visit to campus. The half-day visit takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 15 and is a Geneva 2020 initiative to encourage students to pursue higher education and introduce the opportunities provided by the Colleges. This year, 165 students representing the Class of 2020 will visit campus.
“This opportunity to visit campus and participate in life skills, career and college planning programs is an important initiative of Geneva 2020,” says Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning Katie Flowers. “As this class is literally ‘Geneva 2020,’ it’s exciting to have them on campus. They are the class by which our goal of 90 percent graduation will be measured.”
The Geneva 2020 initiative was created by Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the GCSD in conjunction with community leaders from both the nonprofit and for profit sectors in an effort to align the greater Geneva community around the strategic priorities of the school system. The group seeks to harness the resources of the Colleges and the Geneva community to provide assistance in three key areas identified by GCSD as being critical to the future of Geneva’s children: graduation rate, career and college readiness, and literacy. The Class of 2020 will be the benchmark for progress.
Following a welcome by President Mark D. Gearan, students will watch a video about the Geneva Partnership. After watching this video last year, one wrote: “I thought the video that shows the three HWS students and what they do the rest of their lives was interesting because it showed that the HWS students help out Geneva, which is cool because I’d like to improve Geneva.”
Students also will participate in panel discussions pertaining to careers, the college admission process and financial aid. Panelists include Geneva 2020 Committee Members Matt Horn, city manager; Lucile Mallard, resource coordinator in the 7th Judicial District and president of the Geneva chapter of the NAACP; and William Sophomore Courtney Franceschi ’16, a Geneva High School alum who will discuss a six-week internship that she had with the Hand in Hand for Haiti program. Brandi Ferrara, director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development will facilitate the panel discussions.
“I learned that college is an option for everyone,” wrote one Geneva Middle School student following last year’s campus visit.
Another recalls, “I learned about empowerment… empowerment means the power in yourself.”
Many were surprised and excited to learn about study abroad programs.
One wrote, “I’m curious, do students really travel the world like China, France and Europe?”
The program also includes a campus tour. Last year, students were particularly interested in seeing a residence hall room and the dining hall, as it provided an insider’s view of what it’s like to live on campus.
“It was really a great experience for me because I want to go to HWS for college and I’ve never gotten to see what it’s like until now,” wrote another.
New this year is a “Dream Boards” presentation, which will highlight research that has shown that articulating goals makes people more likely to achieve them.