Winnebago college tour
(July 13, 2003)
Ron Clark wants his students to go to college. So much so that this week he loaded 10 of them in a Winnebago for a statewide tour of North Carolina universities starting Wednesday with East Carolina University.
The ECU alumnus and 2000 Disney Teacher of the Year will drive the teens — juniors and seniors from South Side High School in Aurora — to seven schools and add a personal touch to the traditional college campus tour.
The tour of ECU allowed for insight into everything from how to get help from professors to the swivel chairs that make classes in large lecture hall more comfortable.
"Many of these students have never had family members go to college," Clark said before leaving the Alumni Center, where the students were welcomed by Chancellor William V. Muse, members of the College of Education and other university officials.
Clark taught the students when they were in the fifth grade in Aurora.
Clark, a teaching fellow from Beaufort County, makes a spirited effort to stay in touch with students after the academic year in order to remain a mentor.
"The thing I hate most about education system in America is when kids make bonds with teachers and then they are broken," he said. "I just want to remain a positive influence on my students."
This on-going support has encouraged the touring students to take the necessary steps to get on the college-track, including SAT preparation and requesting applications.
Holding an ECU application and a goody bag from the Alumni Center, high school junior Val McCabe said her eye was already on ECU's nursing program, but that Clark's tour would allow her to explore more options.
"I want to get a feel of what college I want to go to," she said.
After ECU, students will visit Elon University, A&T, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Louisburg and Wake Forest.