February 13, 2012
J. Taylor Pierce '12
Working with Dr. Laura Williamson from the Prince Edward County Public School Superintendent's Office and high school principal Mr. Craig Reed and others on his staff, Ms. Karin Gollin, Coordinator of Volunteer Services, and Dr. Elizabeth Deis (pictured below), Elliott Professor of Rhetoric & Humanities, worked out an arrangement by which members of the Hampden-Sydney Future Educators Club would come to the high school on Tuesday afternoons and work with Ms. Melissa Colbert, PECHS Career Coach, to help high school seniors complete their college applications, specifically, the essays that are a required component of those applications.
Tutors worked for several months with a group of students who are a part of PECHS' college preparation program, "Gear Up." After working one on one with the students on everything from brainstorming to polishing their final drafts, the tutors could see a distinct difference in the quality of the finished essays. The students in the program whole-heartedly agree. In addition to providing high school students with help with grammar and composition issues, the newly created partnership also allows high school seniors the opportunity to talk to young people who are currently in college, and who recently went through the grueling application process.
With college admissions deadlines approaching, this year's program is winding down. However, next year both PECHS and The Future Educators Club are looking forward to working together again and extending this opportunity for community service to a larger percentage of Hampden-Sydney students. Special thanks to Tyler Heslop '12, Turner Blake '13 and Thomas Browne '12 for all their help with this project.