WINNSBORO — College is becoming a trend in the Fairfield and Richland County communities in 2012.
The students are starting to become ambitious leaders for the community.
On Sept. 21, a group of 24 Fairfield and Richland County teens had the opportunity to visit South Carolina State University and Claflin University for a first college tour.
Youth leader Travis Evans planned this tour after talking to a group of youth that had never experienced going on a college campus, or thought about college as an option once graduating high school.
Evans states, “When I was young, I was not exposed to much. So, I’m a person all about seeing people progress in life and exploring all options to become successful. I have noticed a lot of our youth want to take the next step in life to better themselves but are afraid because they do not have that support. The teens do not get that additional support from their families, school officials or their community members. The teens that I have spoken to are not lost. They just need direction. So, as a community leader I am taking the next step to help them explore their options, gain exposure and encourage them along the way. I feel like reaching out to them will help them reach back when they become successful adults. I have found that there is great success in peer unity as well. I encourage the students to get to know their peers, their classmates and their neighbors because they have to encourage each other when they do not get the support from other community leaders.”
The college tour lasted for about three hours, during which students spoke with admission counselors to receive information about college requirements and learn about the universities’ histories.
The students asked questions and even talked with several university ambassadors that shared how their college experience has been so rewarding.
The students were able to receive college applications with the application fee waived.
They visited historical buildings while walking the campus, interacted with current university students and even meet university staff.
Fairfield Central High School Senior Keeshonda Ashford stated, ”I am excited that I have the option of going to the Navy or attending a historically black college or university like SC State or Claflin.”
Ridegview High School Senior Deseree’ Whaley did not know much about Claflin or S.C. State University but now has decided to find out ways to increase her GPA and SAT scores so that she can pursue an education at one of the HBCU, if she does not become a part of a military unit.
Deseree’ Whaley received information from the admissions counselor with hopes that she can get a scholarship to decrease her fees while obtaining a college education somewhere close to home so she can be near her big sister, Jometrius Whaley.
She stated, “My sister has been trying to get me to make a decision on my next step after high school and the college tour help me narrow that decision down.”
Fairfield Central High School junior Jarvois Kennedy, an active member of the Fairfield Central High School baseball team, had the opportunity to meet the baseball coach at Claflin University.
Jarvois stated, “I did not know they had a baseball team, and I’m going to look into what I can do to get a scholarship before I decide on a college.”
Fairfield Central High School Senior Cameron Johnson stated he plans to submit his application to Claflin to be a part of their graphic arts program before the end of the year.
Fairfield Central High School students Chandler Johnson and Lynnetoni Young currently play football at Fairfield Central and were amazed to see the SC State football stadium for the very first time.
They both envision themselves playing on a college field like this one day very soon.
The high school and middle school students were very excited about both university visits.
The students are ready for the next planned college tour. They stated that the exposure was great because they do not do this often.
The teens thanked community leaders, Travis Evans, Jometrius Whaley, Pastor Jimmy Dugan and Kenneth Pickens for taking part in their college tour experience. The teens sent a special thanks to the County Grove Baptist church for allowing them to utilize their vans for the college tour, which was free for all teens interested.
The next college tour is planned for November and includes Charleston Southern and College of Charleston.
The students expressed an interest in visiting Georgia State, High Point University and the University of South Carolina, as well. Evans plans to contact the admissions offices of those universities to schedule more tours.
Evans would like all interested parents and teen students to contact him at email@example.com.