PSC Creates a Pipeline to College for Rich Township High School Students

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Over 100 students from Rich East, Rich Central, and Rich South High Schools are ready for the next step: college.

The students were participants in the Prairie State College (PSC) Pipeline to College program, an awareness and readiness program designed to increase college familiarity for African American male students and their families.

“One of the goals of this program is to help students better understand what college requires of them and how they can be prepared,” said Dr. Eric Radtke, president of PSC. “We are pleased that so many Rich Township High School students participated and learned more about the benefits of a college education.”

The program is part of the college’s ongoing initiatives to foster the academic success and increase college enrollment of African American male students. The Pipeline to College program is funded by the United States Department of Education Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) grant.

         “The program gave our young men a well-rounded experience and encouraged them to go to college,” said Dr. Donna Simpson Leak, assistant superintendent for students learning and accountability at Rich Township High Schools District 227. “The students gained self assurance and learned how to present themselves to be successful after high school.”

The Pipeline to College program was conducted both at the Rich Township High School campuses and at PSC. The college’s program coordinator spent one day a week at each high school, meeting with students individually to provide mentoring and assistance with college applications. Workshops also were held on a variety of topics for both parents and students. Students went on tours of PSC as well as colleges and universities in the state. The program culminated in a recognition ceremony held on May 13. More than 150 students, family members, and supporters from PSC and District 227 attended the event.

“All of the activities were designed to help students prepare to attend college,” said Mary Reaves, vice president, student affairs. “As a result of the program, all of the seniors expressed their desire to go to college.”

In addition to the partnership with the Rich Township High Schools, the grant also funds the college’s Protégé program, a year-round initiative for African American males that cultivates academic progress through mentoring and various activities.

Grant funding also supports the college’s Learning Achievement Center and services including a computer lab, computer-assisted tutoring, and textbook, laptop, and calculator loan programs.

With grant funds, the college also developed a new course, Brothers and Scholars, which is designed to explore the challenges and choices students face as men of color. The course focuses on brotherhood, scholarship, and civic engagement.

In accordance with the Predominantly Black Institutions Program, the grant funded portion of the Excellence = Men of Color in 2 Programs at Prairie State College for FY 10 is 100% funded with federal funds totaling $600,000.