A “COLLEGE FAIR” FOR LOCAL CHILDREN. An atypical group of prospective college students gathered at the first “Kingdom Kids College Fair” on March 27 at Lyndon State College. LSC hosted 75 students and their teachers from three of the Northeast Kingdom’s rural elementary schools: Newark, Sutton, and Miller’s Run. Geared toward first- and second- graders, the fair’s intent was to initiate the idea of attending college to the youngsters.
Everyone was a winner in this college fair: the students had fun and the college was able to introduce the students to the campus. Few of the students or their chaperones had previously visited the campus which reflects a stark reality in the Northeast Kingdom. Census data show just 21 percent of NEK adults have college degrees, compared to 33 percent statewide. With a large-scale economic development plan on the horizon and the quantity of skilled jobs that it will necessitate, the NEK needs a well-educated workforce.
The student’s tour of campus life was both entertaining and educational. It included visiting the News 7 studio with WCAX meteorologist Dan Dowling, an earth science demonstration by Professor Michael Miller, activity time in the Stannard Gym with Adventure Coordinator Jamie Struck, and a weather show by Chief Technology Officer Mike Dente. The college also gifted each elementary school a Kindle for use in their own library.
The College Fair adheres to the principles of one of LSC’s initiatives, the Leahy Center for Rural Students, which works to understand and beneficially change the factors that influence rural students’ educational and occupational aspirations, while also developing and fostering a Pre-K-16 network in the NEK. The Leahy Center stresses that getting a college education is an investment that pays back over a lifetime and that college educated people have better job opportunities, earn more money, and develop life-long skills.
The fair was LSC’s service project portion of the 2013 Vermont State Colleges Leadership Series. Leadership Series participants are selected by each respective college president and the Chancellor. The series is designed to provide a blend of leadership theory and practical strategies that can be applied to present and future work. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on key leadership issues with colleagues from across the VSC. Lyndon’s Leadership Team is Charlie Forrest, Cheri Goldrick, Angie Ryan-Williams, Graham Sherriff, and Aaron Young.