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01 November 2007

Lancaster Campus expands high school partnership
First of six sessions kick off Nov. 19

Hundreds of Lancaster County high school students will get a firsthand look at the college experience with this fall's HACC High School Partnership Program at the Lancaster Campus of Central Pennsylvania's Community College.

Juniors from McCaskey, Columbia, Manheim Central and Pequea Valley high schools will be introduced to the HACC campus life via a tour and hear from speakers comprised of Lancaster County professionals and panelists from all walks of life who will share their thoughts on careers and work experience with the high schoolers.

"By providing information on career planning, local labor markets, postsecondary options and the financial aid process to these students in their junior year we hope to increase an earlier awareness to the college process and options after high school," said Maureen Campbell, associate dean of enrollment management services and professor of counseling at the Lancaster Campus.

As many as 1,000 students from the four high schools, many of whom have never been to a HACC campus or to any college, will participate, Campbell continued. The four schools chosen are those with less than 60 percent of their graduates continuing on to higher education.

The program was launched last fall with a $20,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), and focused on McCaskey because of the low rate of graduates who continue to postsecondary education.

The pilot program had a two-fold goal, said Lancaster Campus Dean Stuart Savin. First, he said, the campus reached out to juniors from McCaskey High School for four half-day sessions for presentations on planning, the labor market, postsecondary options, the financial aid process, a campus tour and breakouts with professionals in their respective fields.

The second aspect included inviting both juniors and seniors and their parents to one of two evening programs, with one in English and the other in Spanish. The evening program included dinner, motivational speakers and breakouts, he added.

About 650 McCaskey juniors participated in the morning sessions, with 80 seniors and juniors and 70 parents or guests at the evening programs, Campbell said. More than half of the 47 seniors who filed fee-waived applications to HACC during an evening session went on to enroll for this year's fall classes.

"A large part of the success of this program was the willingness of the nearly 50 professionals from across the county and from all walks of life" to participate, Campbell said. She credited Leanne Frech, program coordinator, and Ali Laughman, assistant coordinator, for their efforts in getting the speakers and panelists.

It was so successful, that organizers decided to offer the program again this fall.

"We didn't know if we'd get the 2007-08 grant from PHEAA to duplicate the program, so we applied to the HACC Foundation for a special initiative grant of $15,000," said Campbell. This year, PHEAA awarded $10,000 to HACC Lancaster to partner with McCaskey, making it possible to use the foundation grant to expand the program to three additional school districts.

This fall's program will start in November with McCaskey juniors coming to campus in groups of about 160 juniors on four separate mornings -- Nov. 19, 27, 29 and 30. Pequea Valley juniors will be on campus on Dec. 5, Columbia juniors on Jan. 7 and Manheim Central juniors on Dec. 14.

The evening programs for seniors from all four high schools and their parents are scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, for Spanish-speaking participants and at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, for English-speaking participants.

For the morning campus visits in December, the presentations by the community professionals will be divided three segments.

Lois Schaffer, Karen Polite and George Heiser will moderate Panel A, with the speaker lineup including health careers representatives Leslie Shaak of Conestoga View and Jonathan Klapper-Lehman of Respiratory Care of Lancaster Medical Center; Timothy Risser of the Hershey Co. and Sam Huber of Lancaster Labs, who will talk about science careers, and human services representatives Jennifer Stover of Mental Health Associates and Lancaster City Fire Chief Tim Gregg.

Elena Crain, Lowell Mumby and Carl Petersheim will moderate Panel B, with the speaker lineup including business representatives Chris Hanusa, senior accountant of Reinsel Kuntz Lesher; Mike Piacinski, CPA/partner of Tout, Ebersole & Groff; Jesse Hostetter, community office manager of Gold Cafe and Doran Brown of Donnelly. Trades representatives are Chris Bongart of Harley Davidson, Rob Zook of Keystone Custom Homes and Alan Arment of ABC, and technology representatives are Andrew Morrow, executive director of HACC's ITS, and David Damron of Bosch.

Joe Register, Cindy Rose and Irma Alicia Villarreal will moderate Panel C, with Tom Richards of ROSE 103 & WGAL and Jack Roberts, copy editor from the Intelligencer Journal, representing communications; Aaron Young of Fulton Theatre, Andrew Garman of American Music Theatre and Nancy LeVasseaur of the Lancaster Symphony representing the arts, and Judy Smith of Learning Ladder and East Warwick High School teachers Lija Diem and Jeff Martin representing education.

For more information about the Lancaster Campus, click on the Website below.

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