Middle School students from the Geneva City School District (GCSD) will spend a half day on campus learning about opportunities available to college students, such as hands-on research and civic engagement, as well as how to set goals for themselves and work to attain them. The event, on Oct. 14, will be the first formal visit to campus for this cohort of Geneva’s sixth graders and is part of a Geneva 2020 initiative that encourages students to pursue higher education.
“I find that many of the students who we host for these informative half- and whole-day events have visited campus at some point in the past, but this is the first time these sixth graders will be part of formal Geneva 2020 programming on campus telling them what the future can hold for them if they continue to dream for themselves and work toward that dream,” explains Katie Flowers, director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning. “This is the fourth consecutive fall semester we have hosted sixth graders and just one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to Geneva 2020.”
In addition to a tour of campus and lunch in the Scandling Campus Center, the middle school students will take part in hands-on research activities with FLI Education Program Manager Nadia Harvieux and Mercury Analysis Technician Patrick Gunn ’13, learning more about aquatic macroinvertebrates and invasive species.
As an extension of the middle school’s Mandarin program, students will also visit the Chinese Language Lab and meet with Chinese Teaching Associate Yao Li. She and several Chinese first-year students at HWS will present “a day for a sixth-grader in China,” provide a short language refresher course, and demonstrate both Tai Chi and the Chinese game Cat’s Cradle to the Geneva’s sixth-graders, who will also have the opportunity to compare their culture to that of their peers in China.
Carl Weiss ’17 will also discuss his summer internship in Haiti, with the Hand in Hand for Haiti program. Hand in Hand for Haiti was founded by Edward J. Brennan P’06, P’09, chief executive officer of DFS Group, and other leaders in the travel industry in response to the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. The program is part of an expanded initiative to craft a forceful, compassionate response through designing, building and operating a new sustainable school in the country.
As part of the goal of encouraging students to set goals for their future, they will be led through an activity in which they will envision themselves in their dream careers. A career panel will provide valuable, practical information about setting out to achieve those dreams. Sixth graders will also attend college admissions and financial aid workshops.
The Geneva 2020 initiative is rooted in the collective impact model aimed directly at ensuring that students in the local community have the skills necessary to graduate from high school and to effectively pursue college. The program has already helped move the local high school graduation rate from 70 percent in 2010 to 82 percent in 2013, and to increase the number of local high school students entering college from 74 percent in 2009 to 76 percent in 2013. This year, the school district increased its national standing in U.S. News and World Report moving from 141 to 114 in the list of public schools in New York State.