Today was an exciting and tiring day. We took Carol’s group, “Diamonds and Pearls,” to the University of South Carolina. The 10 girls, who are freshman and sophomores at the Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School in Jasper County, SC spent a wonderful day learning about the University in particular and about higher education in general.
Dr. Pedersen, Dean of the College of Education, is a member of the SCORS steering Committee and is frequently in touch with us and other members of the committee. Carol had been describing her work with the young ladies to Dr. Pedersen when he extended an invitation to them.
We were fortunate that the Jasper County school district on rather short notice, arranged for a small bus which allowed us to wend our way two hours plus across route 95 and then route 26 to Columbia.
After what the girls felt was an “all too short” visit to one of the USC’s bookstore, they had opportunities to interact with many of the members of the USC College of Education. They took a tour of the campus and even meet Pierce McNair, who is the legislative aide to Rita Allison, chairlady of the SC House Education Committee.
The girls, who had never visited USC before, were thrilled. It was so reassuring to learn about the many programs that are in place to help minorities succeed on this big campus. We learned that African American women have the highest completion rate of any group attending the University and saw an exhibit about major events that struck our country in 1968- assassinations of MLK and Robert Kennedy. Perhaps most impressive were the stories members of the Education Dept. shared with us about their own backgrounds and the many different jobs they held as they made their way to their present positions.
The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Hodges, offered that he and his staff would be happy to come to Jasper County to speak to our students and staff.
Not only did our girls get to know the University, but the visit gave the Jasper County School District an opportunity to showcase some of their outstanding students.
On the bus trip home, as the girls were writing thank you notes to the staff, there was discussion about what they experienced during the visit.
You may have read an article posted on the SCORSweb.org site about how colleges, very frequently, do not mine rural students, either scholastically or athletically. We are hoping our visit opened new pathways and an understanding of our students, who are fair representatives of our part of rural South Carolina.