High schoolers experience college life

Victoria Mercado, Staff Writer

Approximately 150 high school juniors from Johnstown and Windber visited Pitt-Johnstown on March 25 for College Day.

Hosted by Education Club members, this event was new to Pitt-Johnstown.  The idea resulted from an ongoing discussion with school district officials.

Professors Mark Previte and Bethany McConnell started planning the event in December.

Education division chair Dr. Jacob Easley II said the purpose of the day was to have high school juniors begin to think about higher education, particularly those who have not already considered post-secondary school.

“We also wanted to introduce students to the Pitt-Johnstown campus and to address any questions they might have had about college life or our campus and programs,” he said.

The day started with presentations from student organization members.

Organizations represented were Student Government Association, Programming Board and the Education Club. Social Studies (History Club), Greek life and student-athletes were also represented.

Senior Amber Miller spoke on behalf of Habit for Humanity.

Representatives of the Registrar’s Office, Academic Success Center and Admissions Office as well as Athletics, and the Business Office informed the students about campus resources.

The education majors and staff ran class activities for the students in Heritage Hall.  There were six going on at once including cooperative learning, family collaborations and a free-write class. A “Taking a Stand” class, a “Get to Know You” class, and a taste for a science-education class, were also included.

The cooperativelearning class focused on students asking questions from a certain topic.  One question asked was on t parking and how far one would have to walk.

In another class students did a free-write on prompt about whether men and women get treated differently.

Students had three to five minutes to write what they thought.

In the “Taking a Stand Class,” students were asked to pick a side on genocide.  The students had to circle strongly support, support, oppose or strongly oppose the statements and discuss why they felt the way they did.

In the “Get to Know You” class a game was played with candy. The type of candy a student picked would determine the question that would have to be answered.

The collaborative family workshop was a preview for a future event in Greater Johnstown.  This workshop had activities and displays of four countries –Mexico, Egypt, Australia and Russia.

Science education professor Joanna Harrington ran the science class.  She had the students extract DNA from a strawberry with household products.

Tours were another part of the day.  The Education Division staff worked with the Admissions Office staff when it came to having tour guides available.

The tours were divided into groups in order to provide the high school students with more personal experiences.

There were about 25 students in each group. The groups of students rotated between tours and eating lunch.

McConnell said she thought the day was successful. Previte said there were some hiccups, but was to be expected.

At the end of the day, the students filled out a survey prepared by the Education Division, included questions about the student’s college plans.

It also asked what the best and worst parts of the day were.  The last question asked whether there was a  “wow” moment.

One student said she was surprised the school was not like a grade 13.  Another student mentioned the food being good.