TPI Welcomes Loachapoka Students, Encourages Graduate ‘Dreams’

This fall, after years of tradition, the Truman Pierce Institute welcomed exceptional seniors from Loachapoka High School to the Auburn campus for LEAD days. Under the leadership of TPI’s new director, Dr Jason Bryant, the acronym LEAD has been changed to better reflect the purpose of the outreach project. “Learners Exploring Academic Dreams” better reflects the idea that by bringing these promising students to campus, they learn not only about Auburn, but the larger purpose and promise of higher education. The relationship between the College of Education and Loachapoka Schools is strong and has included poetry readings and campus events and activities, among others.

“We have in the past and continue to have a strong connection with the Loachapoka school,” said Bryant. “The success of this relationship leads us to expand our school partnerships to hopefully also include Notasulga and Reeltown, giving us links to schools in our three neighboring counties of Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa. We want to make these links with their K-12 systems to continue our 1982 charter in which we are dedicated to the study and improvement of teaching, learning and leadership. We continue to focus on ways to improve schools and communities by building partnerships, conducting research and delivering programs to meet the needs of schools and communities. Our LEAD event this fall is one of many such efforts.

The most significant change in LEAD’s long-standing relationship, said Bryant, is that TPI wants students to not only learn and see Auburn as their future home, but also help students start “dreaming” of real possibilities. offered by higher education, be it Auburn, Southern Union or any other higher education institution that offers these students a better opportunity in life.

Busy day for students and staff

After a good breakfast of Panera Bread served in the scholarship hall of the old Coliseum on campus, the students gathered to discuss the topic “Raising The BAR”, another acronym for “Believe.” To achieve. Hosting. ”Led by longtime LEAD loyalist Teresa Smoot, always energetic, the program got off to an exciting start. Will Brown, a Loachapoka High School alumnus who is now an Auburn student, joined Smoot on the podium while that Bryant encouraged the students to make the most of this one-day opportunity.

“You have a lot of opportunities ahead of you,” said Bryant. “You are here because you have excelled on so many fronts and we want you to stay focused and make the most of what is out there today and in your future. We’ll walk you through how to be successful and give you the chance to see what to expect in Auburn. But the most important idea is to focus on the possibilities of higher education and how it can help you change your life. “

The main morning activity for the students was to create a vision board. The activity was led by LHS alum Brown.

“We often have a lag with our view of ourselves,” Brown said. “When that alarm clock rings in the morning, it signals an opportunity. We want you to take a look that day and ask yourself what you can do to maximize your opportunities. So what we’re going to do now is find some pictures and words to put on our vision boards so that we can visualize those distant hopes and dreams and turn them into reality. By putting it on our board, we can visualize it every day. We’ll be off to a good start today, but we encourage you to add to your board as time goes on.

It turned out that the internet was having problems on the ground floor of the Colosseum, so Brown took the opportunity to demonstrate that you should always have a back-up plan. Student Chromebooks were essentially obsolete, so Smoot and Brown brought out boxes of current periodicals for students to browse and create physical Vision Boards as opposed to the e-boards they originally planned.

An hour of cut and paste (literally) later, the students developed charts that showed their various interests. Themes included spots, food, travel, and recreation, but mostly focused on the everlasting themes of giving back to the community they loved, living for the moment while facing inevitable challenges, and empowering. their African-American comrades. The students also focused on their various professional dreams, including the healthcare professions, education and the pursuit of justice as lawyers and judges, and how these professions could not only provide meaningful work, but also create safety for them and their families through beautiful homes, reliable transportation, and safer communities.

The next activity focused on how to approach those career dreams by preparing strong resumes, researching different professions, filling out job applications, and preparing for job interviews. TPI staff divided the groups into different professional categories and conducted live interviews, which their comrades observed and criticized.

After lunch on campus, LHS seniors toured the campus with the War Eagle Girls and the Plainsmen, official hosts of the university, and had the opportunity to look around and ask questions.

At the end of a long day, the students prepared to leave campus for the short trip home, taking fond memories and solid lessons with their bags of AU loot.

“It was a great day and the start of something that we hope to replicate with our other school partners,” concluded Bryant. “We want to give these local students a chance to learn and fall in love with Auburn, but most of all we want them to realize that no matter where they come from, they can make their own dreams come true.”

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