December 8, 2022 -- The ideal living situation for Amyiah Mitchell and Shianna Sexton is a college dorm room. The two Burroughs Elementary School fifth grade students had the opportunity to visit Ohio Dominican University and decided immediately after seeing a dorm room to move there together.
“The dorms are really pretty. We’re definitely both going here, and we’re going to live in the rooms,” said Mitchell.
The two girls visited ODU as part of an initiative to get younger students on college campuses. This opportunity is available to many of the District’s westside schools, and is one of a few initiatives designed to expose them to college and careers. Matriculation Coordinator Danielle Bryant said this opportunity allows students to explore their options from a young age.
“5th grade is early to be on a college campus, but that’s when the conversation should start,” Bryant explained. “The kids are fascinated by the idea of living on a campus. They want to know what they have to do to go here.”
During the visit, the students received an insider look at college life. They explored Ohio Dominican and saw everything from medical cadavers in the basement that fascinated and terrified students by turns to the dorm room that captivated their attention.
One of their favorite parts was visiting the cafeteria.
“In the cafeteria, there are flags hanging on the walls showing the different countries that Ohio Dominican’s students have graduated from. A lot of kids identified with the flags. They said, ‘Oh, that’s my country’ or ‘That’s where my parents are from.’ They are fascinated that people who look like them can go here,” Bryant said.
Showing students that they can fit in on a college campus is vital to help them plan for their futures. One of CCS’ primary goals is to ensure students graduate on time and are well prepared for post-graduation life. Bryant said this opportunity shows students one possible avenue after graduation.
“Not every kid will go to college, but if they can shoot for college, then they can shoot for graduation. That’s what we’re working towards,” Bryant said.
Giving students a chance to explore different post-graduation pathways is crucial for their success. There are many ways for students to succeed after high school, and Bryant wants them to try different options and find the best fit for them.
“There are kids who will pursue trades; there are kids who will attend university; there are kids who will directly join the workforce,” she said. “We’re hoping that by giving them this experience, they will know what options are out there and choose what’s best for them.”