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TRIO/Educational Talent Search Receives Grant from Blue Ridge Electric Membership

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s TRIO/Educational Talent Search (TRIO/ETS) has received a grant of $1,000 from the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation to help support the 2014 TRIO/ETS Mini-College.

Alice Lentz with Blue Ridge Membership Check for TRIO

TRIO/ETS Mini-College will take place in June  and will engage 36 rising 7th grade TRIO/ETS students for an overnight campus stay at Western Carolina University (WCU). The students will participate in academics through simulated classes taught by TRIO/ETS staff and high school TRIO Youth Leaders. Class topics will include college success, exploration of careers, and college majors. WCU Admissions personnel will guide students on a campus tour. Students eat meals in the cafeteria and experience dorm-life with a roommate for one night. Through team-building and structured recreational activities,TRIO/ETS students from the CCS middle- and K-8 schools will have the opportunity to develop new relationships and strengthen their communication and leadership skills.

The program, which got its start in 2003, has served 345 students. Dr. Alice Lentz, Director of TRIO Programs at CCC&TI, says the mini-college experience is much more than just a fun get-away for the students. “TRIO/ETS Mini-College represents for many of these young people the first night away from home, the first time sleeping in a dormitory, the first time eating in a college cafeteria and sitting in a college classroom, and the first travel out of Caldwell County and the Catawba Valley.  TRIO/ETS Mini-College sets the stage for young students’ continued exploration of and focus on college throughout their years as TRIO/ETS participants,” said Lentz.

The federally-funded TRIO/ETS program at CCC&TI annually serves over 600 middle-school and high-school students, ages 11-18, in Caldwell County Schools, to promote their preparations for and successful enrollment in postsecondary studies.  Most TRIO/ETS participants are from low-income families and are potential first-generation college, meaning that neither parent earned a Bachelor’s degree.  TRIO/ETS specialists develop and maintain long-term relationships with TRIO/ETS participants and their families through regular in-school services and off-campus college explorations.  In 2013, TRIO/ETS seniors achieved a 100% on-time (four-year) graduation rate.  In fall 2013, 93% of the TRIO/ETS graduates enrolled in 18 colleges and universities.