Fall Festival a hit with area children

Servant Scholars’ projects meet needs, mentor students

Nov. 2, 2015

Both cohorts of Servant Scholars have kicked off the academic year with projects designed to make a difference in the Troup County community.

The Servant Scholars program was launched in 2012 to bring together academically gifted and highly motivated juniors and seniors to study and serve.

During the first year of the two-year program, each student chooses a nonprofit organization in Troup County in which to serve. At year’s end, the group gathers at its home base in Broad Street Apartments and selects a subject for its joint senior project.

Clothing DriveThis year, the juniors are working at area nonprofits such as Circles of Troup County, Boys and Girls Club, Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic, Hillside Montessori, Twin Cedars, West Georgia STAR, LaGrange Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Feeding the Valley food co-op.

One of their first endeavors was a clothing drive held on campus this week.

“We had hundreds of items donated,” said Lauren Venters, who organized the effort. “It was amazing to see how much the college students gave. We also had contributions from faculty, staff, alumni and our own families.”

All items will be donated to LaGrange’s community closet, she said.

The senior cohort has developed Project SEAM (Service, Education, Awareness, Mentoring) as its capstone project.
“Research done by the Scholars has shown how important mentoring and education are in helping children live successful lives,” said Dr. Jack Slay, Director of the Servant Scholars program. “They decided to host a campus visit for local elementary school students.”

On Oct. 15, all fifth-grade students at Hollis Hand Elementary School in LaGrange were treated to a firsthand look at the college experience.

Senior Chandelle Ulmer organized the campus visit.

“We wanted the kids to get a glimpse of what college is like and to show them that many things are possible,” she said. “We also told them it is important to start thinking about college early and what they might want to do with their lives.”

At the beginning of the day, the Hollis Hand students were divided into two groups and taken to the athletics facilities or the Fine Arts complex, where one group visited Lamar Dodd Art Center and the other toured Price Theater, with guides at each site. The groups then switched to the other location for tours there.

After all groups toured the south campus facilities, they were driven to the Hill. They were separated into four groups and visited Turner Hall to talk with junior Scholar Matt Crawford, who shared some of his LC adventures; the Callaway Science Building to participate in a science experiment with a science professor; Lewis Library for a tour; and Smith Hall to hear ghost stories and tall tales about the college.

Their final stop was Pitts Dining Hall, where they had lunch with Pouncer.

“I think that was their favorite part of the day,” Chandelle said.

Field TripJack Morman ’89, principal of Hollis Hand, called the day “wonderful, just wonderful.”

“The Servant Scholars did some incredible planning,” he said. “Our teachers were so impressed with their patience and willingness to take questions from our kids – not to mention being able to efficiently move 90 kids from the CEB to Lamar Dodd to Price and then to the main campus. Everything went like clockwork, and we were able to get our students back to school in plenty of time.”

At every step along the way, question-and-answer sessions were held with the young visitors.

“The kids asked a lot of questions, and I think they learned a lot about college, and about LaGrange College
specifically,” Chandelle said.”

The best part of the day for her, though, came later when she arrived at the Boys and Girls Club, where she works as a volunteer.”

“One of the (Hollis Hand) kids came up to me and told me how much he loved visiting LaGrange College,” she said. “And then he gave me a big hug.”

Morman described a similar scene with one of his students.

Science Experiment“No one in his family attended college and it probably wasn’t something he’d even considered,” Morman said. “But he told me that it was the best day of his life. It made him start to think that he could go to college after just spending those few hours on the LC campus. What a priceless gift.”

Chandelle said they have received so much positive feedback from Morman and the Hollis Hand teachers that they are hoping to do the same thing with Franklin Forest Elementary School next semester.

“The day was such a success,” she said. “Our goal was to have an impact on these students and to leave a lasting impression that college is attainable and can be fun.”

Morman said he hopes the campus visit will become an annual event for his school.

“Our teachers said it was the best field trip they’ve ever taken.”
 

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