21st Century Scholars catch glimpse of a bright future at GC

GOSHEN — In an effort to reach out to the area’s low-income and minority students, Goshen College and Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program are hosting an enrichment workshop this week, helping students take the first step on the road to college.

The workshop, offered math, English, study skills, science and computer skills classes to preparethem for high school, as well as guest speakers who motivate students to attend college. Each student also recorded a 45-second message at campus radio station WGCS.

Every morning, all 35 students met guest speakers, who motivated students into stayingin school and explain the value of a college education.

Since 1990, the 21st Century Scholars program has helped students in low-income brackets enter post-secondary education. Students enroll as eighth graders, taking a pledge. The state awards participants with free tuition to any Indiana public college or the equivalent to a private institution.

Juan Alcala, a Hispanic student entering Goshen High School next year, said, “(The program) is a real help to me. There aren’t many opportunities someone like myself has to go to school.” But for Alcala, the program represents more than just a chance to enter college. “I want to get a good job to support my family,” he said.

According to Pat McFarlane, assistant professor of communication and English, the program establishes a strong community connection working with students who want to go to college. Many participants are first-generation college students and need an educational resource such as Goshen College for guidance, she added.

For teacher Jimmer Prieto, Goshen College’s initiative is “a vision to involve Goshen College in the community outside the campus.” For him this program symbolizes a chance for the many Hispanic students to improve their situations. “College is an opportunity for Hispanics to start a revolution in their communities,” he said. “We need (Hispanic) kids to become professionals within the greater society.”

Some of the students participate in the science class at Merry Lea Environmental Center

Nereyda Ochoa and Marissa Magaña work on a math project.

These are some of the participants to the Elkhart 4H parade. The Hispanic Council of Elkhart County was awarded second prize.