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Florissant Valley Gateway to College Students Selected to Speak at National Peer Learning Conference

August 03, 2009

Joshua Golden  
Joshua Golden recites his essay, "This I Believe", to Gateway
to College staff, students and partners.

Students in the Gateway to College (GTC) program at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley attended the Gateway to College Peer Learning Conference in Washington D.C. July 19-22.  

Joshua Golden and Angela Tardy were both selected to attend the conference as student ambassadors for the Florissant Valley GTC program. They participated in student focused leadership training and panel discussions on their perception of effective instruction. Golden was selected out of 4,300 students nationwide to present his essay titled, "This I Believe".

"Going to DC taught me that regardless of where I go, my mind is the sole means by which I will relate and connect with the people I encounter," said Golden. "I learned, therefore, that if I learn to connect with the core of humanity, which is common to all mankind, rather than only the surface of humanity, which varies with region, I will be able to connect with anyone."

Angela Tardy  
Angela Tardy speaks on steps of
Lincoln Memorial.

Angela Tardy was selected to recite her poem, "My Story", on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

"The trip to DC was probably one of the most inspiring moments in my life. I learned what it really meant for me to be in Gateway to College, and somehow in such a short time I learned something new about myself," said Tardy. "I met amazing people that I will never forget."

The Peer Learning Conference was designed to provide training and technical assistance to over 200 Gateway to College staff and partners from 24 programs nationwide.
 
"Our students represented the college well," said Wendell Covington, lead student resource specialist. "It makes me proud to know that the Gateway to College National Network admires our student’s talents and leadership capabilities. It also makes me proud to know that despite our challenges starting up a new program, our staff’s efforts are paying off."

The Gateway to College national network is part of the Early College High School Initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. It is designed for young adults aged 16 to 20 who dropped out of high school. The program enables them to earn a high school diploma while simultaneously earning college credit toward an associate degree or certification; the grant pays for student maintenance fees and books.

Florissant Valley's GTC grant provides student support staff and services for up to 350 students from the Hazelwood and Ferguson-Florissant school districts who left high school without a diploma. Students are dually enrolled at the Florissant Valley campus until they complete their high school diploma or reach the age of 21. Since 2002, the 13 partner organizations of the Early College High School Initiative have started or redesigned 160 schools in 24 states. The organization invited the Florissant Valley campus to apply to participate in this national program.

Florissant Valley's GTC program accepted its first students at the beginning of the fall 2008 semester. There are currently 40 students enrolled and they will begin to receive their high school diplomas at the end of the summer 2009 semester.

For more information about the GTC program at Florissant Valley, contact Wendell Covington at 314-513-4251.