Campus tours show students college is a real possibility
Until this spring, eighth-grader Jorge Garcia had never set foot on a college campus. Neither had fellow students Tyren Williams and Chris Russell.
But thanks to Loyola’s School of Education and the Undergraduate Admission Office, all three of them—plus roughly 200 other eighth-graders—have gotten a glimpse of university life. And, more importantly, they’ve now seen first-hand what a college education can do for them.
In April, 50 eighth-graders from Joseph Lovett Elementary School in Chicago took a tour of Loyola with their principal, Leviis Haney, who earned his doctorate in education from Loyola in 2011.
For Haney, it was more than a chance to return to his alma mater; it was a chance to show his students—many of whom come from low-income families—that they too can earn a college degree.
“A lot of our students have never been outside their own neighborhoods,” Haney said, “so the Loyola campus is a whole new world to them. And now, they’re beginning to dream about going to college. It was a really wonderful experience for the students.”
Also touring Loyola were roughly 150 eighth-graders from William F. Gurrie Middle School in La Grange, who came to campus in May. This was the third year that Loyola welcomed students from Gurrie.
It’s a tradition that was initiated by La Grange School District 105 Superintendent Glenn Schlichting and educational consultant Kathy Stone, both of whom have doctorates from Loyola.
“Loyola has a strong commitment to urban education and social justice, and the tours we take there help contribute to those goals,” Stone said. “But the tours also help drive home the idea that these students can go to college and graduate.”
So what did the eighth-graders think of their visits?
“I now won’t look at college as just an educational process, but more as a life process,” Tyren wrote in a thank-you note to Michael Dantley, dean of Loyola’s School of Education.
“Before I came to your amazing campus, I didn’t have control of anything,” Chris wrote in his note. “Thank you so much, Mr. Dantley, for making me a better man in the future.”
But it was Jorge’s note that summed up the visits best of all.
“Now I’m going to wake up every morning throughout high school, knowing when I graduate I’m going to an even better place—college,” Jorge wrote.
More than 100 eighth-graders from William F. Gurrie Middle School in La Grange toured Loyola earlier this year.
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The two visits happened as a direct connection between the School of Education and its graduates. You can learn more about the School’s commitment to promoting college readiness through its GEAR UP program