Author: Hallie French, first-year adviser serving Pamlico County High School
Early on in the year, when I started asking my college ambassadors what kinds of projects they wanted to work on they answered unanimously: they wanted to help underclassmen. They talked about the struggles each of them had faced throughout their time in high school, as a group of now juniors and seniors. They felt they owed it to their freshman and sophomore classmates to talk about those struggles in hopes that it would help make their high schools careers a little smoother. On February 27th, the day of the ACT, my senior college ambassadors did just that. In an auditorium filled with two hundred of their peers, they shared what we decided to call “advice from a senior.” They spoke of their own downfalls and shortcomings as well as their moments of triumph. They shared advice on when to take foreign language courses, why it is important to visit college campuses, why it is important to take classes that are interest relevant, the importance of extracurricular activities, and how to deal with the stresses of high school and the college application process.
Many of my students will be the first in their families to attend college – just as I was when I was a student at this same school – to hear advice from individuals so close to their own situations was visibly meaningful for them. One of our charges as advisers is to help create, promote, and facilitate a college-going culture in our schools; giving my college ambassadors the space, freedom, and responsibility to share what they have learned in their own words with a group of their younger classmates felt like a win towards aiding the growth of a college-going culture in my school. With those presentations under our belts, our next big plan is to collaborate with our school counselor to create a video to share similar advice with incoming eighth graders. Today and every day my college ambassadors remind me that my students have everything they need within them and if they feel they do not there will always be someone nearby who will be willing to remind them of their greatness and their potential. To me, that is what this work is all about.