Temple Student Government Vice President of External Affairs Ofo Ezeugwu is implementing a new program aimed to show local middle school and high school students that higher education is a viable option for them.
The program, Kids-to-College, will allow panels of five university students to visit seven local schools and organizations, including Women’s Christian Alliance, People for People Middle School and Cross Roads High School, to speak about campus life and higher education.
“The goal is to open up their eyes to higher education overall. We just want them to realize that higher education is a viable opportunity and is definitely available to them. We are willing to help them realize that,” Ezeugwu said.
The program is fulfilling a promise Temple Advocating for Progress made in its platform last spring.
Ezeugwu originally designed the program to bring the middle and high school students to Main Campus to attend classes or sporting events, but was forced to adapt due to new child clearance requirements. Ezeugwu said that obtaining child clearances is too expensive and time consuming for the scope of this program.
“We kind of took a different approach to it. So what I came up with was instead of us bringing them to the school how about we go out to the schools and almost be a panelist and a session for them,” Ezeugwu said.
At the hour-long sessions, Ezeugwu will moderate the conversation and five undergraduate students will share their experiences attending classes, managing a social life and living away from home.
“You will not see any panel, unless we are forced to, with any student that is the same major or has gone necessarily the same way. We want students to draw and be able to make connections with these individuals,” Ezeugwu said.
Freshman journalism major Brittany Boston is a panelist for the first program scheduled for Feb. 19.
Boston will share her experience of transitioning from an out-of-state suburban Catholic high school to a large public university with the hope to show the students that “being away from home is not as scary as it may seem.”
“I really want them to just want to go to college,” Boston said. “I hope that they start taking their classes seriously, and preparing for standardized tests and college essays. I want to be an inspiration to these students that they can go to college and succeed regardless of where their family is or current situations.”
Boston and Ezeugwu said they realize that family life and money are major hurdles for some local students, but want the young students to think about the long-term benefits of a college education.
“When you look at the socioeconomic standing they are in, a lot of times it makes more sense to them at the time to just get a job and get right to working and making money. When in reality, if you go to school you will be reaping many benefits after that because of what it allows you to do,” Ezeugwu said.
Ezeugwu created the program based on his experience working at local schools during his undergraduate studies and the desire to give back to the community.
“It is TSG being able to give back in a different way,” Ezeugwu said. “We do Adopt-a-Block, we do clean-ups, we have gone to soup kitchens in the past years. I think that this is a very different twist and speaks directly to the students.”
Ezeugwu encourages any student interested in participating in Kids-to-College in the future to contact TSG.
Laura Detter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.