MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Going to college or technical school is a major decision. Thanks to the Tennessee Promise, the state is footing the bill for two years, and more kids than ever are making these decisions.
“Many of them have not stepped foot on a college campus,” Jacqueline Oselen with Leadership Memphis said.
The group works with eight high schools in Shelby county. They call it the success zone, and they want kids in at East, Fairley, George Washington Carver, Hamilton, Kingsbury, Kirby, Melrose, and Trezevant high schools to be prepared when it comes time to make their choice for secondary education.
Tennessee Promise officials say one of the most important steps of going to college or technical school is visiting the campus and making sure it’s the right fit for you, so Leadership Memphis is raising money to help make that a reality for families who can’t afford it.
Eight-thousand students in Shelby County applied for the Tennessee Promise, and Leadership Memphis hopes to take 400 of them out in the field to see what works for them. But these trips cost money: $40 per kid for a local visit, and $400 for a weekend tour.
Oselen said, “It puts them in the mind frame of ‘wow, I can see myself doing this, wow, this is a real possibility.'”
The weekend trips are meant for kids who show potential, but don’t have the means to do it on their own time.
“The average student who doesn’t really know, what happens to my life after high school?” Oselen said.
They’re focusing on the junior class, kids who are just getting started on their applications and making decisions about their majors.
“It also gives them options in terms of what’s a realistic career field based on what they are good at doing and based on what they like,” Oselen said.
The tours begin in May after spring break, but the group needs to raise about $20,000 in order to make this happen. They’re hopeful the community will step in and make an investment in the future generations.
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