Clark State College will welcome 72 local junior high school students into the Clark State Scholars program.
The Scholars program is a participatory program for students entering eighth grade that, if successfully completed, results in three years of tuition-free education at Clark State through the efforts of the Clark State Foundation.
“This program opens the door of opportunity for the students in the Scholars program,” Karen Hunt, direct of Clark State Scholars Program. “Visits to the Leffel Lane campus allows them to explore career possibilities, meet students in their cohorts and experience a little bit of college life. They also get to meet college students including those in the Scholars program, staff and faculty members.”
The Scholars program began 17 years ago inducting middle school students in the Springfield City District. The Scholars program expanded in the last four years to include students from Champaign County (Graham and Urbana School Districts) and Clark County (Clark-Shawnee and Tecumseh School Districts).
“The students experienced a whirlwind of a year,” said Hunt. “There were many hurdles that included adapting to online and hybrid learning styles. In speaking with many of the Scholars during this time, they shared their learning challenges. I am very proud of how they adjusted to the change and continue to work hard.”
Middle school counselors play a significant role in identifying students eligible to participate in the Clark State Scholars program. Accepted students must maintain a 2.0 or greater grade point average, 93 percent or better school attendance, exhibit good citizenship and participate in program activities.
A critical component of the Clark State Scholars program is the development of a support system to encourage the young scholars to work toward a college education and to help expose them to enrichment experiences they might not otherwise have. Thus, students in the Scholars program are mentored through their high school years.
“Mentors offer guidance and support to the youth we serve and are a positive influence in our communities,” said Toni Overholser, director of the Clark State Foundation which houses the Clark State Scholars program. “By sharing their time and talents, mentors help prepare first-generation college students for success.”
Clark State Scholars alumna Amia Alston is a Registered Nurse at Miami Valley Hospital in the cardiac unit. She graduated from Clark State last December and said Clark State prepared her early on for a career in nursing.
“Take advantage of this opportunity,” she said. “The Clark State Scholars program has undoubtedly set all of its scholars up for a very successful future.”
A virtual induction ceremony can be viewed at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 15th on the Clark State website at: https://www.clarkstate.edu/about-us/foundation/ and on the Clark State Scholars Program Facebook page.