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Fairlead Academy H.S. Students Learn about College Life from SMCM Students


April 19, 2010
Press Release #10-092

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St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) students mentored high school students from Fairlead Academy last week, showing them what would be in store for them in college.  The SMCM students are part of the DeSousa Brent program, a program that is designed to provide students with a sense of community and support during their time at St. Mary's College.  Many of these students are from the same challenging backgrounds as the Fairlead students, who are at risk of not receiving their high school diploma. 

During the visit, SMCM faculty and staff spoke to the Fairlead students about college classes and admissions.  David Kung, associate professor of mathematics, gave a presentation on the importance of math to college success and explained unusual math facts, including how the lottery is a form of tax.  SMCM's DeSousa Brent students worked in small groups with the 10th graders to share dialogue about family situations and college trials. 

"Don't make excuses," said SMCM student Stephon Dingle ‘12, of Baltimore City, Maryland.  "Nobody's holding you down.  To succeed, you've got to be focused, no matter what people say."

"Our 10th- grade students are 100 percent on track to becoming juniors next year," said Wendy Zimmerman, academic dean at Fairlead.  "We continue to work on study skills and the skills required to be successful in the future.  Our number one goal is high school graduation.  Our second goal is some sort of continuing education past high school."

"We made a commitment to the students last year that we would support them and see them through graduation," said Charlottis Woodley, transition coordinator at Fairlead Academy.  "The purpose of this day was to reinforce to the students that we are serious about them completing high school.  We wanted the overall feel of the day to be friendly and to let the students see how everyone was doing. The time invested was well worth it.  I cannot say enough good things about our superintendent, Dr. Michael J. Martirano.  Just having his presence there for the full time was wonderful. The kids loved having him." 

Tenth-grade student Shante Bonds attends Fairlead in the morning and Great Mills High School in the afternoon.  "We talked to some St. Mary's students," she said.  "They told us what their day was like.  We talked about some of the skills you would need as an adult and what will help in college."  Bonds said that she would like to attend Johns Hopkins University and study anesthesiology. 
Fairlead Academy, established in 2008, was created to assist ninth-grade students from St. Mary's County who are at risk academically of not receiving their high school diploma.  Students enrolled in Fairlead Academy are provided with state-of-the-art electronic educational equipment, a 13:1 student-teacher ratio, and are taught not only the ninth- and tenth-grade curriculums, but also the skills required to become successful citizens and the essential knowledge to make their dreams become reality.

St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's, and The Princeton Review. Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, SMCM is the state's only public honors college.

More than 2,000 students attend the college, which has the highest graduation rate for all Maryland public colleges and universities. The school's waterfront campus along the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland is home to the 2009 National Intercollegiate Sailing Association Co-ed champions.

Category: Student Body