Agape Students Visit Florida Colleges

 In Current Events


Ten Agape students and two chaperones hit the highway for South Florida, but not just for fun in the sun.  Five rising sophomores and five juniors spent four days visiting four Florida college campuses, returning with both excitement for higher education and a refreshed rigor to study hard.

Agape introduced its Spring Break College Tour nearly 10 years ago with a mission to inspire, enlighten and expose students to higher education and provide an avenue to see education beyond the boundaries of high school.  

And inspire they did! As for 11th grader Jasmin Martinez, the college tours shed light on an entirely different future empowered by education.  “You also get to know what you want to be,” said Martinez. “You will have your mind clear on what you want to do in the future.” 

By the end of Spring Break, all of the students could picture themselves at one of the four public universities which included Florida A&M University, Florida State University, University of Florida and University of Central Florida.

In addition to the college tours, the students met with current college students about their experiences and found that a college campus is a place where they can feel comfortable and supported.

“Students met with peers and learned what it means to be a first-year student, and learned about the different resources universities offer to ensure student success.” said Dulce Gallo, NAHS Specialist.  “From food banks to retention programs, they now understand that college is not just one big task that they have to handle alone, and were assured that the colleges would offer the right tools to ensure their success.” The custom tour included the school’s multicultural resources, mental and wellness resources, financial aid, scholarships, and academic programs.

The students also showed great interest in the many club offerings, sports, and specific academic programs including nursing, business, and pre-law. But they were especially intrigued by the high value that the universities place on seeking students of varied geographical and ethnic origins.

“The most interesting thing I learned from the colleges were that they offer a lot of opportunities for out-of-state students and financial aid,“ said 11th-grader Yulissa Cruz.  “I picture myself at UF, UCF, and FSU because I really like what they offer and how diverse they were.”

Agape is debriefing the experience in their after-school sessions and during their summer camp to ensure their knowledge of financial aid and scholarship awards.  “We also plan to implement an application process for the trip which will drive students to push themselves academically and work towards earning their spots on the trip,” said Gallo.

For 10th grader Jose Guzman, he found the college tours most valuable in influencing his time management and providing a reason to work harder in high school.   “You’ve got to spend your time wisely because college doesn’t give second chances,” said Guzman.   “I now know how to spend my time, and how time spent in college can impact you.”

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