David D. Smith
Published August 21, 2014
The RE-1 school district is expanding its Pre-Collegiate Program, so The Sopris Sun asked three of those involved – an administrator, student and mentor – to talk about their views and involvement.
The process of applying to and paying for college is daunting even for those with the best support systems. Navigating that gauntlet is usually more difficult for those students who are the first in their family trying to get a post-secondary education.
Over 10 years ago, visionary leaders in the Roaring Fork School District recognized this dilemma and, with the help of community partners, formed the Roaring Fork Pre-Collegiate Program. The program is designed to provide additional support to those students in the Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt schools who would be the first in their family to go to college.
The program offers academic and extracurricular enrichment through a volunteer-mentor based system. Mentors begin working with small groups of selected students in the seventh grade and stay with them through graduation. Many mentors build lifelong relationships with their “kids.” Through regular meetings, mentors help to introduce the concept of college. They work on nuts-and-bolts-like essays, resumes and college applications, and help students with financial aid and scholarship applications. The work is all geared towards establishing a culture and expectation of college attendance.