Forty-nine Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School eighth graders were let off a bus at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus for a campus tour, career and college program exploration, and fun on Thursday, Feb. 22.
Career & Academic Advisor Richard Smith led the charge to engage this group in early college consideration and career investigation. SP/G Associate Provost Keron Jean-Baptiste greeted the eighth graders with an introduction to what the day’s events would bring and held a Q&A session about college life at SPC.
Collegiate High School & Early College opportunities
Collegiate High School Principal Starla Metz, discussed the merits of applying to Collegiate High School as sophomores to simultaneously earn their Associate in Arts degree and high school diploma, potentially saving participating students up to $8,000 in college costs.
Metz explained that Collegiate High School has 230 students and a student/teacher ratio of 18 students per teacher. Participating Collegiate High School students have all the resources and student life opportunities as an SPC student in addition to having their own high school events such as prom, a National Honors Society, and regular Friday night activities.
Topics such as how to apply to Collegiate High School and information about SPC Early College entrance for high school juniors were discussed.
Interactive career activities
Students divided into three groups and rotated through three 20-minute activities that explored topics such as music industry professions, natural science-related occupations, and general career exploration.
Smith along with April Bullock and Nathyn Montagano with Student Government, led the groups to activity destinations. Career & Academic Advisors Shoshana Kroll and Lisa Dollenmayer discussed career decision making and exploration in the campus’ Student Services lobby.
Students expressed interest in careers such as musician, marine biologist, veterinarian, and business manager. Associate and bachelor’s degrees were explained along with related degrees SPC offers. Kroll led the students through a fun activity where they were asked to identify strategically laid out objects on tables to be matched to multiple occupations, opening their imaginations to new career possibilities.
SPC Honors Program Consortium President and Peer Advisor Garrick Roe, discussed how his newly planted permaculture garden at the campus was created with donated sustainable resources. Student groups planted sunflowers in miniature pots to take home and care for. Sporting gardening gloves, they plucked their own earthworms from Roe’s soil bed to add to their flower pots for natural fertilization.
Giraldi, a former resident of Hawaii, entered his session sporting a Paleo garment and traditional Puka shell necklace. He showed students how creating music mirrors life – many instruments and rhythms make up a song just as the need to balance multiple activities is a part of everyday life. Students jammed together with Djembe, Cajon drums and other instruments like tamborines and shakers.
Marc taught students how to handcraft a flute from paper and discussed how students can get their associate degrees with an emphasis in music to later enter music-related bachelor’s degree programs.
Campus tour success
SPC group facilitators were impressed with the students’ eagerness to learn and participate in discussions.
“The kids had a great time and were so impressed with everyone’s enthusiasm and willingness to make the tour meaningful for them,” said Thurgood Marshall Middle School Instructor and co-event organizer Stephanie Pawlowicz.
Smith said, “Our goal was to create a fun activity-filled morning that was both educational and interactive. I believe we pulled it off. In a small window of time, we were able to expose the students to a wealth of opportunity offered at SPC.”