The Johnson Scholarship Foundation, in collaboration with Take Stock in Children Palm Beach and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, took 300 students on six charter busses on a college tour this fall. The group visited Tallahassee and Gainesville to tour Florida State University (FSU), Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Santa Fe College and the University of Florida (UF).
Students travelled all night to arrive in Tallahassee at 7:00 am. They toured FSU and FAMU before heading south to Gainesville to tour University of Florida and Santa Fe College. After the tours, the students continued south back to West Palm Beach, arriving back home at 11 pm.
The students learned about matriculation from a community college to a university, received in-depth college admission requirements and toured most of each campus. For many students, this was their first time seeing a university campus and/or leaving their home town. These tours provided the students with the opportunity to ask detailed questions regarding college admission, how to best prepare for college and made a seemingly intangible goal into a concrete possibility. Many students came back determined to increase their classroom engagement, volunteer hours and extracurricular participation in order to make college a reality for themselves.
"To witness their expressions and hear their excitement for college was truly heartwarming. This was truly an amazing opportunity for our students and one I am sure they will never forget," said Nancy Stellway, Executive Director of Take Stock in Children Palm Beach.
Wanda Kirby, Johnson Scholars District Coordinator for the School District of Palm Beach County added, “Those travel hours were wonderful opportunities to talk with students about their college dreams. Each college campus they encountered fueled their desire to go to college. It was refreshing to hear, ‘I’m going to apply as soon as we get home.’ The goal of any campus visit is to fuel the possibility that this could be their college. What an awesome time with our scholars!"
“We, at Santa Fe College, had lots of fun with the students when they came down to visit. I was impressed with them all,” said Bea Awoniyi, a Johnson Scholarship Foundation Director and the Assistant Vice President For Student Affairs & College Ombuds at Santa Fe College.
“I never really thought about going anywhere other than Palm Beach State College or FAU (Florida Atlantic University) since they were so close. After I saw FAMU’s campus and heard about the programs they offer in person though, I knew FAMU is where I want to be,” said one of the students.