Their eyes lit up as they walked through the halls of the college imagining their turn in walking these very halls as up and coming adults. Some whisper to one another wishing to skip high school so they can go straight to college, while others excitedly asked questions of the tour guide.
These boys will become young men and when they become young men, who will they become? Will they become doctors, scientist, teachers, a movie star…? Only time will tell, but I know they will be great.
On April 17th on PCCC’s main campus, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, took twenty-one sixth and seventh grade students from local Public School #2 and Norman S. Weir for a guided tour of the college to encourage students to continue their education in high school and college.
They were welcomed by the Assistant Director of Admissions Taya Eaton and Dean William Morrison, Men of Color Initiative Chairman.
The students explored the PCCC main campus, Panther Academy High school and the Hamilton Club.
At PCCC, the students get to know about the locations of certain areas in the college such as the cafeteria, library, the gym and one room in particular that caught the young men’s eye, the game room.
The tour, also includes the Panther Academy High School, where the young boys experience the planetarium by the guidance of Gary Swangin, an astrologer.
Half of the young men, on the tour, have never been in a planetarium before and was in awed by the simulation of stars and planets that were displayed.
Certain programs like PHI THETA KAPPA and The Men of Color Initiative, was brought to the students’ attention—especially the Men of Color Initiative, who presented to the students in the Hamilton Club, emphasizing the importance of success. Students were served pizza by college staff for lunch at the end of the tour.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity incorporated, sponsored the program “Go to High school, Go to College,” a national program to help young boys in elementary schools and high schools be aware of the importance the education system is and go to college.
“In this particular instance what we did, we started at the fourth grade at four local elementary schools and then we track them through fourth grade to eighth grade and upon graduation—we track them through high school and then we encourage them to go to college,” said Charles Pettiford, an adjunct professor at PCCC, who’s actively involved with the program.
The elementary schools that took the tour of the college, allowed the young men to get to know two-year colleges like PCCC. Prof. Pettiford felt it was about time the students take a trip to a community college.
“The goal for going to high school to going to college, is to start a collaboration with Passaic County Community College and for the simple fact that a lot of parents can’t afford to send their children to four-year institutions, because of tuitions cost etc…,” said Prof. Pettiford.
The Fraternity has been taking students on field trips to universities for at least 28 years. This is the first time this year, they’ve taken elementary students to a field trip to universities. The trips are usually for juniors and seniors in high school.
“It turned out really really well! I think this something that we are going to continue to do on a bi-yearly bases,” informed Pettiford.