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Youths get taste of college life at Shepherd

June 20, 1998

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - For the first time, Kristia Shaffer, 18, felt confident about attending college in the future.

She and 32 other Eastern Panhandle high school students completed a week-long School to Career Academy Friday at Shepherd College.

They listened to professors lecture, spent time with mentors and learned about financial aid programs.

Shaffer, a senior at Hedgesville High School, said she has long thought about going to college to become a nurse, but she worried if she could do it.

"I always had this sense of doubt, but I know now if I work hard my professors will help me and I'll be able to graduate from college," Shaffer said.

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"It was a very helpful program," said Troy Smith, 18, a senior at Harpers Ferry Job Corps center. "I've learned a lot of new stuff. Believe it or not, this was my first time using the Internet."

Hannah Geffert, who coordinated the program at Shepherd, said several professors, including department heads, volunteered to teach the high school students about seven different career fields, from environmental studies to engineering.

The high school students were recruited into the program by Shepherd College officials and their high school guidance counselors.

Shepherd College students served as mentors to help the high schoolers.

"I know we're not going to reach everyone, but I've seen three or four write in their journals that they now plan to go to college," said Allison Mytty, 21, a junior at Shepherd.

Mytty said that some of the high school students came from backgrounds where none of their family members attended college and being in a college academic setting was a new experience for them.

The Rev. Tony Washington, a 45-year-old graduate student at Shepherd, said he worked with some of the high schoolers "to leave behind their fears and anxiety about success."

Jenny Hollis, 17, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., said she plans to go to college after graduating from Musselman High School, where she will be a senior in the fall.

"It was a good introduction to what college will be and will have to offer," said Hollis, who hopes to major in history to get a job a national park.

Scott Campbell, 16, a Martinsburg High School junior, said he plans to attend college to learn about environmental studies.

"What I really got from it was a lot of information about the courses I'd have to take to graduate in my area," Campbell said.

"It was fun except for all the lectures. You've got to have a little bad with everything," said Heather Haines, 16, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., a Musselman High School junior.

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