Throughout the summer, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee opens its doors to dozens of high school students from nine different local high schools and their parents for the UnidosNow ‘Future Leaders Summer Academy.’ The Academy is a series of 18 informative college prep sessions intended to prepare students for the college application process. UnidosNow is a non-profit organization committed to fully integrating the region’s Hispanic community into the state’s civic, cultural, and economic fabric, with higher education being a key focus and important building block for success.
“USFSM is delighted to partner with UnidosNow on this special program,” said Dr. Arthur Guilford, USFSM Regional Chancellor. “As the region’s comprehensive university, we believe it is our leadership responsibility to inspire and provide resources to all students in our community, and to expose them to the critical importance of gaining a higher education for future success.”
The program includes 24 students that are the first from their families to attend college, seven of which are the first to graduate high school.
“College education and active leadership are imperative to empowering the Hispanic community while simultaneously bringing our nation forward,” said Cathaleen Kaiyoorawongs the Director of Education Initiatives for UnidosNow. “In the UnidosNow program, we identify promising high school students with dreams of attending college and an expressed commitment to giving back to their community, helping bring their peers up the ladder with them. Through the program, they are able to develop the academic, social and organizational skills needed to not only go to college, but also become tomorrow’s community, state and national leaders.”
The program began June 6 and wraps up August 10 with a graduation ceremony for participants.
USF Sarasota-Manatee is the host for 12 sessions of the 18 sessions, including an information session and campus tour on July 9. Some of the other workshops on the USFSM campus include: “Who Am I? Team Building Exercises” (June 11 and 13), “Interviewing Skills” (June 18), “Leadership – What is Community?” (June 20), “Career Exploration and How to Start the College Search Process” (June 25 and 27), “Testing Strategies for the ACT and SAT” (July 2 and 23), “College Essay Writing” (July 18 and 25) and a “What’s next?” (August 8).
Hosting the summer program on the USFSM campus will help prepare students and families unfamiliar with the college search process, and allow them to become comfortable communicating with admissions staff. That exposure will serve as a valuable asset as they look for the right higher education institution to fit their needs.
“By holding the program at USF Sarasota-Manatee, we are able to give the students an experience on a college campus as well as to get community partners invested in higher education for first generation college applicants,” Kaiyoorawongs said. “Integration, education, and empowerment are vital keys to our community’s prosperity.”
For more information on the summer academy and to apply, please visit the UnidosNow website.