Participants in the Southeast Scholars Program recently completed a summer camp and enjoyed an exciting and thought-provoking cultural enrichment trip to Washington, D.C.
Southeast Scholars, a program for local youth in seventh- through 12th-grade, is operated by Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College along with support from donors and from college endowment resources. The mission of the program, according to coordinator Sandra Brown, is to assist the students in their quest to attend college by providing support and skills vital for each to become a collegian.
Students are identified in the sixth-grade and are first-generation college students who meet several income guidelines. To enter the program, individuals must fill out an application, write an essay and undergo an interview conducted by the selection committee. Students are required to attend five compulsory classes each year with the summer camp being one of the five; the classes meet after school and on two Saturdays during each program year.
Brown went on to explain the program offers 14 workshops annually based on academic and life skills topics and three community service projects. During the camp held on the Cumberland campus the week of June 15-19, students embraced the theme — “Southeast Scholars Have a Voice!” — by attending various workshops including: citizens working together, citizenship 101, social impact on how to be good citizens, branches of government, community vision and steps in solving community programs, critical thinking and the importance of keeping up-to-date on current events.
During the camp, scholars worked closely with the Tourism Commission of the City of Cumberland to deliver a community service projects. The project consisted of students divided into five groups and completed a beautification project within the city limits. Students weeded flower beds in the Art Park, painted garbage cans and flower pots in front Cornett’s Furniture Store and BB&T Bank and painted the bear statues in front of Black Bear Market.
“Our summer camp was a huge success,” said Brown, “the students were exposed to a wealth of knowledge about civic duties, responsibilities as citizens and the democratic process. Additionally, they were exposed to the exciting city of Washington. It was truly an educational and fun-filled week, with lots of exciting and new opportunities.”
Students were thrilled about the chance to tour the dynamic sites of the nation’s capital. “From the Smithsonian Institute to the U.S. Capitol, every building and place has broadened my understanding and knowledge, which I am so grateful to have experienced,” said Taylon Baker, a rising senior at Bell County High School. Natalie McGeorge, also a student at Bell County High, imparted: “I believe this has been the best camp I have had yet. Being part of the Southeast Scholars has been one of the best eye-opening experiences I have had in my life. I am grateful for being chosen for the program, it has made a difference in my life.”
While in Washington, the group met with Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr and toured the White House Walk, the National Mall, the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial as well as trips to Arlington National Cemetery, the Capitol, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and a tour of Georgetown University.
Assisting with the camp for 2015 and serving as presenters included, Carolyn Sundy, Dr. Rick Mason, Sandy Holbrook, Tim Brown, Dan Mosley, David Dixon, Shandeal Fields, Chris Johnson and camp counselors, Jacob Carroll, Tom Robinson, Evan Fields, Angela Zomaya and Holly Banks.
Southeast Scholars taking part in the camp were, Jacob Brown, Chris Brown, Matthew Brown, Joshua Lee, Isabella Jones, Olivia Jones, Natalie McGeorge, Amber Rowlett, Selena Rowlett, Dalissa Noe, Shyla Baker, Miranda Skidmore, Emily Smith, Taylor Hall, Payton Bingham, Abbi Bingham, Lindsay Fields, Carlee Stephens, Taylon Baker, Logan Skidmore, Evan Lewis, Katiera Lewis, Mackenzie Stidman, Kallie Franks, Billy Fields, Lacey Fields, Oliva Lynch, Alex Hall, Kadan Barnett, Sean Cooper, Courtney Buchanan, Abagail Blevins and Mckenzie Adams.