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Funding Renewed for College’s ‘Adopt-a-School’ Participation

Renewed funding of $5,000 from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency will enable Pennsylvania College of Technology to continue an innovative “Adopt-a-School” partnership that demystifies the college experience for a group of Tioga County teenagers and their parents.

Facilitated by PHEAA, the program matches secondary and postsecondary schools in an effort to increase the number of students who continue their education beyond high school. Penn College was one of 12 institutions to sign on for the pilot project during the 2006-07 academic year, “adopting” Liberty High School, about 30 miles north of main campus.

“We’ve had a great first year partnering with PHEAA and Liberty High School,” said Kimberly L. Bolig, director of Academic Support Services at Penn College.

“Working with Noreen Wheeler, the guidance counselor at Liberty, we have been able to create unique opportunities for our faculty, students and staff to have meaningful interactions with Liberty teachers, students and parents,” she added. “Talk about seamless educational processing! What we have been able to accomplish because of this grant has enhanced not only the Liberty community, but also enriched the educational experience for our students at Penn College. PHEAA’s brainchild to create a grant that partners colleges and high schools is a genius idea.”

Last year, students in Penn College’s Act 101 program traveled to Liberty to meet with at-risk ninth-graders to help explain college to teens who might not otherwise realize what’s in it for them.

“I felt as if I was giving back a small portion of what was and is given to me through Academic Support Services at Penn College,” said Monica B. Freeman, of Williamsport, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied human services. “It was very easy to speak positively about (the college) and encourage Liberty students because my experience “¦ has been positive.”

This year’s Adopt-a-School program kicked off in October with an overview presentation to Liberty students and parents particularly targeting 10th- and 11th-graders that included information on postsecondary opportunities, financial aid, Act 101 and other offerings of the college’s Academic Support Services, housing and campus safety, the surrounding community, the amount of studying involved, and the lasting benefits of a college education.

In addition to giving teenagers the perspective of college students, Adopt-a-School provides the opportunity for high school teachers and college instructors to work collaboratively on easing students’ transition from high school to college. In December, Liberty High School ninth-grade teachers in science, industrial arts, agriculture, consumer science and reading visited Penn College to interact with faculty.

Other events during the current academic year will include a special meeting for Liberty High School parents and students during Penn College’s Spring Open House on March 29, a ninth-grade visit to main campus to meet faculty and attend mock classroom presentations in April, an 11th-grade visit to campus and Susquehanna Health in May, and an awards reception at the high school in May for 10th-graders who were part of the ninth-grade at-risk group in 2006-07 and who showed improvement during their work with peer mentors from the college.

For more information about Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7562 or through its Web portal.

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