On Nov. 19, 24 eighth-graders participated in Cobb County Job Shadow Day at GHC. GHC is a two-year college with space on the campus of Southern Polytechnic State University. The college partnered with the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement to host the event.
It was designed for students to explore educational and career possibilities. The middle school students were paired with about 15 Georgia Highlands College students who answered questions about the challenges and benefits of their college experiences.
"They typically do this with businesses but they wanted to bring the students to a college campus," said Nancy Kelly, a GHC student services specialist. "They did a tour of the student center, classroom buildings and dorms. A lot of them were very surprised at how small the dorm rooms were."
Elisheva Ray, 24, a second-year GHC student, said the students asked a lot of good questions. Originally from Miami, Ray said she wished she had such an opportunity to get her acquainted with the college process while in middle school.
During their visit, Lovinggood students were welcomed on campus by Dr. Kirk Nooks, GHC Marietta site director. They also got to experience a lecture from political science instructor Shea Mize and participated in a psychological exercise conducted by psychology instructor Krista Mazza.
After having lunch with GHC student leaders, each Lovinggood student left campus with a middle school guide to college brochure.
"We want them to leave here with having had an experience of fun, but also research has shown that if we connect with students in middle school years we can get them on a path to success," said Kelly.
"On campus, sometimes I see the tragedy of students not making the connection soon enough and trying to come up with Plan A, Plan B and Plan C."
For Lovinggood student Tanner Haley, 14, one of the most impressive things about college is the amount of freedom allowed. He said he was surprised that college students don't have a dress code like he does.
GHC has about 5,000 students at six sites in Rome, Cartersville, Dallas, Douglasville and Marietta. The Marietta instructional site opened in 2005 and enrolls about 1,000 students.