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Supplying the Missing Link
CHESTERTOWN, MD—The very thought of college can be daunting for high school students, especially if they come from lower-income families without any history of college experience. Link2:DC, a new grassroots initiative in Washington, is helping many promising high school students start the conversation about college and, through bus tours of area schools, envision themselves as undergraduates.
On Saturday, October 25, Link2:DC, in partnership with Washington Jesuit Academy (WJA), gave a group of 25 high school students from the Academy and the Washington School for Girls—two independent Catholic schools in the District—the opportunity to envision themselves at Washington College.
The Chestertown campus was the second stop on the group’s very first bus tour of colleges and universities in the region; they also visited Howard University and Catholic University, both in DC. The bus ride to the Eastern Shore and back provided time for discussion about the college application process.
William Whitaker, founding president of the Washington Jesuit Academy, says for many of his students, the tours provide the first steps onto a college campus. “We want it to be a tangible affirmation that college can be a reality for them,” he says.
Howard Blue, director of athletics and graduate support at Washington Jesuit Academy, led the trip to Washington College. “The tour to a variety of campuses gives the Link2:DC students a chance to have conversations about things they wouldn’t normally talk about in their day-to-day lives,” he says.
The Washington College visit offered the group a first look at life at a small, liberal-arts college. The students spent some time in the new Visitor Center, ate lunch in Hodson Dining Hall, and followed two Washington College student tour guides through buildings that included the Gibson Center of the Arts, the Johnson Fitness Center, Goldstein Hall, the Toll Science Center, and Queen Anne’s Hall.
Blue said he liked the way Washington College lets students be diverse in their interests. “It’s been an awesome time,” he said of the midday tour of campus. “This is a great campus and a great school, and we would love to continue the relationship.”
That relationship began in February when Sam Shoge, an Assistant Director of Admissions, met some of the program’s representatives at a college fair. He is happy to see Link2:DC students learning about the collegiate options available to them. “This is the start of a great relationship,” Shoge says. “And the Washington College admissions team is excited to do our part in providing access to students from underrepresented communities.”
Photos: Top, WC tour guide Jada Lee ’17 talks to the Link2:DC group outside Daly Hall. Middle, the group talks about science in the atrium of the Toll Science Center. Bottom, Washington Jesuit Academy students, Dillon Clary,Malik Harvey, and Ronell Gross bring up the rear as the group walks past Bunting Hall.
––Kaitlyn Fowler ’17