In June, Baylor SOE helped welcome to campus the Promoting Achievement in Communities Everywhere (PACE) program, a nonprofit organization that serves upperclassmen high school students. Students visited Baylor as part of an annual two-week summer trip to explore different colleges.
Dr. Lakia Scott, assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, has led this summer trip since 2011, when she got involved with PACE.
“PACE is a college readiness initiative that provides exposure and enrichment to minority youth about entering and completing postsecondary education goals,” Scott said.
During the Baylor tour, Scott facilitated a discussion on the calling to teach and SOE programs available.
“Students understood the viability of being interdisciplinary and even becoming certified to teach,” Scott said.
The PACE students who visited campus are also a part of the ASCEND program, a mentoring program founded by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Scott said ASCEND focuses on achievement, self-awareness, communication, engagement, networking and developmental skills. Students from Baylor’s AKA chapter spoke to PACE students about their experiences attending Baylor.
One of the students of ASCEND and PACE, Elijah Howard, from Killeen, said he wants to be a social studies teacher and is interested in coming to Baylor.
“I really enjoyed the trip!” Howard said. “I didn’t know Baylor had so many activities to do on campus. It seems like a great school.”
Howard’s mother is an AKA alumna, and he joined the ASCEND program through her.
Because of PACE, Howard said, he feels more prepared to apply for college and now wants to come to Baylor.
“It (PACE) helps us get a feel for the college experience, getting to know where everything is and see all they have to offer at the colleges,” Howard said.
Based in Houston, PACE also hosts college readiness workshops for students from across the nation. These workshops helped students understand college student organizations, housing options, roommate selection, and emotional and physical health.
During the school year, PACE provides community service opportunities for the students, and Howard is currently working on planting a garden in the Waco community.
On their two-week tour, students also visited Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Philander Smith College, Langston University and Paul Quinn College. The students also stopped at major state schools like University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of North Texas.
And what is a road trip without some sight-seeing and fun? Students visited the National Historic Site for Little Rock Central High School, met at local Black-Greek facilities, shopped in Oklahoma City outlets, played at Dave and Buster’s, and cooled off with a pool party.
—by Kate McGuire
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