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WSU revives outreach program

Instead of bringing students to the university, bring the university to the students. This is the approach Washington State University is taking with its College Knowledge & Career Options for Youth Program scheduled at Tacoma’s Foss High School, April 26.

The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 10:30 a.m.

In addition to bringing faculty and staff from its Pullman campus, event organizers have called upon alumni in the area, other local colleges and universities and the professional community to present hands-on workshops.

In all, nearly 60 people will visit with Foss’ 1,800 students, teachers and administrators. Career workshops will be provided in areas such as nursing, fashion design, education, veterinary medicine, engineering and business.

“Foss has traditionally been a feeder school for multicultural students coming to WSU,” said event organizer Darlene Hilyard. “These established relationships brought forth this opportunity to share with the entire school what a difference a college education can make in their lives.”

WSU is no stranger to sharing its message with large student audiences.

Thursday’s program is based upon a successful outreach model WSU implemented in 1989 under the name of College Knowledge for the Mind (CKM). It uses a combination of keynote addresses, testimonials, fun career workshops and personalized interaction to motivate students to do well in school and strive for a college education.

The CKM program was an annual event at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School during the 1990’s and for 15 years appeared in Puget Sound schools such as Garfield High School, Rainier Beach, Franklin High School and Cleveland High School.

“The CKM program had such an impact on so many people’s lives over the years, many of us began to question why we ever let it die,” said James Bledsoe, WSU outreach coordinator and event organizer. “There is still a tremendous need for this program.”

Hilyard, an extension coordinator for WSU’s Salishan Learning Center, couldn’t agree more. “I interact with people in my community everyday who don’t seem to have direction in life. For many of them, college is the furthest thing from their minds. The CKM program plants a seed that college is a viable option for everyone,” she said.

One of the workshop presenters is Leo Pangelinan—a 1995 Foss High School alumnus who graduated from WSU and now works for the University of Washington as a Minority Affairs Outreach Specialist.

“My goal for this program is to dispel the negative notions some have about going to a community college,” he said. “I hope students gain a better sense of how closely linked our two-year colleges are with the four-year universities.”

One student planning to attend Thursday’s program is Foss senior Lyndel Raiford. Raiford recently learned he is the recipient of one of WSU’s top scholarships—a Future Cougars of Color Award valued at $40,000 over four years.

Tacoma’s Bethlehem Baptist Church, located at 4818 E. Portland Ave., will host a pre-program dinner for Foss students, their families, event speakers and organizers.

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