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Clark State Scholars Program to Host Second Annual Nest Fest

Clark State Scholars Program to Host Second Annual Nest Fest

September 21, 2023

The Clark State College Scholars Program will host its second annual Nest Fest event on Thursday, September 28 at the Eagles Nest on the main campus in Springfield.

The Scholars program hosts the event to serve as a kick-off to the new school year. Guests include scholars from all participating school districts: Springfield City Schools, Clark Shawnee, Graham, Tecumseh and Urbana.

“We are excited to host the 2nd Annual Nest Fest event for Scholars, their families, mentors and support teams,” said Karen Hunt, director of the Clark State Scholars Program. “Exploring the campus through fun activities will allow high school students to learn more about Clark State, meet professors and inspire career choices for those who have not defined a major.”

Hunt said the event is also a gateway to allow our Scholars in high school to interact in fun activities with College Scholars. 

“Nest Fest was created to be educational as well as a dash of fun,” said Hunt.

The Clark State Foundation partnered with the school districts to identify eligible middle school students who will become the first in their families to earn a college degree. Upon graduation from high school, the students will be eligible for three years of college at Clark State at no cost to the students. An annual Scholars induction welcoming new participants is held during the spring semester each year.

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, vice president of advancement at Clark State. “By sharing their time and talents, mentors help prepare first-generation college students for success.” 

Nest Fest provided an opportunity for the students and their families to meet their mentors before the first mentoring session begin in October.

The Scholars program began 19 years ago inducting middle school students into the Springfield City District. The Scholars program expanded in the last four years to include students from Champaign County and Clark County.

Upon selection to the program, all Scholars and their parents/guardians must sign a contract. The contract states the Scholars Program student must maintain a 2.0 or greater grade point average, maintain 93 percent or better school attendance, participate in at least 75 percent of the program activities, exhibit good citizenship, take classes in high school that will prepare the students for college and stay enrolled in the district in which they were inducted.

More information regarding the Clark State Scholars Program and mentoring is available at:

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Dr. Crystal Jones Vice President of Marketing, Diversity and Community Impact