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On the Road travels to colleges

Ninth+and+eighth+grade+On+the+Road+students+taking+a+picture+with+JMU+president%2C+Jonathan+R.+Alger%2C+after+eating+lunch+with+him+on+a+trip.
Ninth and eighth grade On the Road students taking a picture with JMU president, Jonathan R. Alger, after eating lunch with him on a trip.

Ninth and eighth grade On the Road students taking a picture with JMU president, Jonathan R. Alger, after eating lunch with him on a trip.

Meredith Breeden

Meredith Breeden

Ninth and eighth grade On the Road students taking a picture with JMU president, Jonathan R. Alger, after eating lunch with him on a trip.

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Meredith Breeden, the leader of Ninth Grade Academy, has been planning trips to colleges for students involved in the On the Road Collaborative program at Skyline Middle School. They travel to both local and private universities to give students a different experience.

“I hope students get awareness out of these experiences. Also, we try to provide students with classes or other things that you wouldn’t get on a typical tour to enhance the experience, whether that’s meeting the president of the college or taking a specific class. I hope that students start to believe in the dream that they can go to college and that it is obtainable,” Breeden said.

Past colleges Breeden has traveled to with students are EMU, JMU, Blue Ridge, Bridgewater, William and Mary and Virginia State. Ninth Grade Academy typically brings spokespeople from some of these colleges to HHS to talk and interact with the students in Ninth Grade Academy.

“I think they lead students in different ways in different times of their lives. I think the information can be helpful right now or it could be helpful later down the road. The goal of the speaker series is to meet and connect with local people who have either grown up in Harrisonburg or have become successful. It’s to show that these high school students can take that path and be successful. I think that each student takes something different from each speaker,” Breeden said.

Freshman Isis Gotay has been in On the Road Collaborative since the fall semester of her eighth grade year. She has attended every college trip that On the Road Collaborative has planned. Gotay has experienced the college and career curriculum of On the Road Collaborative since she first joined.

“It gave me an opportunity to get to know the people who actually go to college and how college is. It gives you an idea of how to get prepared for that moment,” Gotay said. “They allowed me to get a view of the colleges and let me see the differences. I have the choice between colleges I never knew before now.”

Newcomer to Ninth Grade Academy, freshman Maddie Shanholtz, has been in the most recent trips made possible by Ninth Grade Academy. The next planned trip is an overnight trip to Radford University and Virginia Tech. Shanholtz is planning on attending these trips to learn moreabout these universities.

“I’m excited to go on the next trips to Radford and Virginia Tech. I’ve heard that Radford and Virginia Tech are really good schools and I’m so interested on how they work. I’ve only mostly seen local colleges, so seeing something new will, hopefully, change my perspective. I think it’s going to be cool seeing schools that aren’t just local,” Shanholtz said.

The Radford and Virginia Tech trips have schedules that consist of presentations and interactive activities with either current students or a current professor. More trips are still being planned after that for the Ninth Grade Academy students.

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