A group of University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) students has developed plans to build a mentoring relationship with fifth and sixth grade students in elementary schools on St. Croix starting with a day-long introductory session titled "SOS: Planting the Seed" on Nov. 15. The program is an initiative of the Shadowing Our Students (SOS) Committee of the Student Government Association (SGA) on UVI's Albert A. Sheen Campus.
"We're trying to plant the seed of higher education in younger students," said SOS Committee Chairperson Kevin Dixon, a junior with a double major in business and computer information systems. The program's specific goal, Dixon said, is to heighten awareness of the benefits of tertiary education, while highlighting the many opportunities for advancement offered by UVI. Previous SOS programs at UVI have focused on high school students. "We're going to grade schools to plant the seed earlier," Dixon said. "The committee is striving to get young minds to consider UVI as their first choice. This is a major recruitment effort and should lead to continued success for students at UVI and the University itself for years to come."
About 30 UVI students have volunteered to help the six-person SOS Committee conduct the program. They will welcome more than 100 fifth and sixth graders to UVI from the following schools: Eulalie Rivera Elementary School, Claude O. Markoe Elementary School, Ricardo Richards Elementary School, Randolph Lockhart Christian School and St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist School.
The program, which begins at 8 a.m. in the Great Hall at UVI, will feature a keynote address by Derval Prince, who works as an Information Technology Specialist III on the Albert A. Sheen Campus. Prince earned degrees from UVI in 2002, 2009 and 2010, and is now working on a Master of Arts in Education - with a concentration in Technology. "He knows UVI inside and out, as a student and as an employee," Dixon said.
The event will give the young students the opportunity to see firsthand the wealth of academic opportunity, professional development initiatives and extra-curricular activities UVI offers. They will have the opportunity to shadow UVI students in their prospective fields of study and attend a structured UVI social event. Similar to previous SOS Programs conducted in the spring, participants will get a preview of the college application process and funding options. Students will also have the opportunity to engage in group discussions, attend mock classes and tour the campus.
Dixon added that the SOS Committee is also developing a plan for UVI students to follow up with visits to the participating schools during the coming spring semester. "We want to make follow-up presentations to keep the connection and build relationships," he said. "We want to reinforce our message: UVI is a great institution with a lot of opportunities."
For more information contact SOS Committee Chairperson Kevin Dixon or SGA Advisor Hedda Finch-Simpson via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (340) 692-4228.