A Tale of Three Cities Part Three: Rochester, New York and New York, New York
By Carol Barash, PhD, Founder and CEO, Story To College
This summer, through two programs sponsored by the University of Rochester Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, high school students from these two cities will have the opportunity to share their experiences and collaborate in a college learning environment.
On Saturday, July 14, Story to College will lead a Celebration of Community Voices, bringing together diverse high school students from the greater Rochester area to tell their stories and to hear the stories of high school students they might otherwise not meet.
And the following week, July 16-20, the University of Rochester is sponsoring a 5-day Story To College Application Essay Development Course at Jefferson Market, another reminder of Andrew Carnegie’s enduring legacy on the West Side of New York City.
The goal of these University of Rochester programs is to bridge the divide that so often separates high school students from privileged neighborhoods and economically challenged neighborhoods, and create a college classroom environment where they can learn and build community together.
“There are gaps of sophistication between these two groups, gaps of expectation, and of course gaps of opportunity,” explains Joe Latimer, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Outreach at the University of Rochester. “Our goal is to begin to close those gaps before kids get to college. High school students rarely care where someone comes from. They are curious and available to what other students offer. We believe that giving students who might not otherwise meet a chance to learn side-by-side, while they are still in high school, makes them all more ready not only for college, but for the increasingly diverse and global work force they are entering after college.”
Facing the prospect of college – and especially college application essays – students are all a bit timid at first. It is the vision of Story To College that by telling their stories to one another, sharing their unique life experiences and working to craft application essays that reveal what matters to them and what difference they will make in a college community, students begin to close the distance between the two Americas – and between young people in the US and young people who grow up other places.
Ever so briefly they are just a bunch of kids in jeans, sneakers and hoodies, starting a journey from where they are today to where they want to be in the future. I am inspired every time by how willing students are to work and build community across their differences – and reminded how much we need both cities, all of our children, to flourish in college and beyond.
This is Part Three of a three part series about my experiences with three recent Story To College programs that tie together everything we aspire to do for college-bound students. Read Part One and Part Two.