As our first graduates of Countdown to College apply for college admission, our first group of FGI Scholars prepare for college graduation. Accomplishments of both groups validate the investment that our donors, staff, and instructors have made in these young people rising from challenging circumstances to soaring success.
FGI Scholars: Academic and Co-Curricular Achievements
First semester 2013 ended with seven of our Scholars on the Dean’s list (GPA 3.6 or higher). Of these, two accomplished an astounding 4.0 record. Other Scholar accomplishments include: Five elected department club officers and seven to honor societies; 10 tutoring in the Student Success Center and SMU Literacy Clinic; five interned in local social services agencies, and one who returned to his native Sierra Leone for an internship at the orphanage where he grew up.
C2C Graduates Earn College Credit in Environmental Science Class
In 2012 our first group of C2C students began an inquiry-based science course that took them to local streams and drainage ditches to collect and analyze water samples for pollutants. This two-year class focused on watershed management in rural areas the first summer. When the students went back home, they gathered information about water quality issues in their urban communities.
On graduation day this past summer, they presented their personal research proposal for improving water quality in their home environments. Parents and staff were unanimous in praising the accomplishments of our first 20 graduates. Their poise and scholarship affirmed our academic boot camp goal: to prepare first-generation students of color for success in college. We are especially pleased with the number of C2C grads who are now considering majors in science and math.
Return On Investment: Four Years of C2C = Significant Academic Growth!
The table below validates the time, talent, and treasure that our donors, instructors, and staff have invested in these 20 graduates. Reading comprehension on average increased an amazing 21 percentile points, reading rate 15, and spelling 13. (To maintain the same percentile rank in four years would mean a four-year gain; These gains are truly impressive!)
Next Steps for Saint Mary’s First Generation Initiative
As we bid goodbye to our first graduating class of Scholars and welcome our first C2C graduates to our University, we invite our community of donors, instructors, staff, and partner schools to help recreate the success stories of these 30 young people.