The eight classes included “Earth, Environment and Humanity,” “Costume and Set Design” and “Creative Writing.”
When the students were not in class, they took part in teambuilding exercises and college-preparatory workshops on topics such as crafting a strong college-application essay. On July 25, the students presented the results of three weeks’ worth of research at a project fair.
In just its second year, F&M College Prep has nearly tripled in size. Last year, the program hosted 23 seniors from the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)—a national network of public charter schools dedicated to helping underserved students excel in college and in life. This year’s cohort came to
F&M from 12 U.S. metropolitan areas, supported by educational partners such as KIPP, the National College Advising Corps–Keystone Region (NCAC), Uncommon Schools, Mastery Charter Schools and Achievement First.
F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield, who spent half a day mentoring the students at the outset of the program, said the College was “so proud to host 61 high-achieving rising seniors from rural and urban communities all across the country. They possess a great range of gifts, talents and experiences.”
He added, “This program empowers young people, the future of America, to aspire to attend great colleges and develop mindsets for leadership.”
The organizer of the F&M College Prep program was Shawn Jenkins ‘10, special assistant to the Dean of the College for strategic projects. His goal—one he shares with F&M College Prep’s partners—was to help all 61 students develop a mindset that college is the natural next step in their personal and intellectual development.
“These organizations we work with have the same mentality that we do: that these students have the capacity to be successful, and all they require to become successful are resources and experiences,” Jenkins said. “Our partners work extremely hard to get these students prepared for college. Some of these students start school at 7:30 a.m. and go as late as 5. Their aspiration is college; that’s what our partners ingrain in these students. Our program is the next step, the bridge between that final year of high school and the first year of college.”