SEBRING — A room that was used for storage in the Sebring High School media center has been transformed into a resource to help students explore their college opportunities.
Students and teachers dropped in Tuesday morning to see the new college resource room that was provided by the parent/community group, Highlands International Baccalaureate and Advanced Academics Partnership (HIBAAP).
The room features two computers in a lounge-room atmosphere with a round table, coffee table and a mixture of seating, including a couch and a beanbag chair. A large U.S. map, about 10 feet wide, on the wall shows the location of most of the four-year colleges and universities in the nation.
HIBAAP president Reed Bowman said the idea was to create a comfortable space for students and give them resources about finding a college and getting admitted to college. It will help students with information about standardized testing, financial aid, the available schools and their admission requirements.
The room’s two computers are Skype accessible so students can make an appointment with a college representative anywhere in the country and conduct a video interview with them, he said.
Several of the International Baccalaureate students have been helping in developing and managing the college resource room, Bowman noted. They have developed a series of student-led seminars that are tied to specific activities that students need to be thinking about in the college process.
Most of the funding for the room came from a $4,000 grant from the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program. HIBAAP vice-president Charlotte Wilson prepared the grant application, which was awarded in May.
“The exciting part is to see just how community, parents, students, teachers are all coming together to make all of this work and pooling all of our resources together,” Wilson said. “What happens out of this room and out of HIBAAP is just going to evolve in the next couple of years.”
Senior IB student Lindsay Everest said: “Our goal is early action in getting students involved so they are not scrambling last minute or they don’t know all that is available.”
The college resource room will be available for all students. Initially, it will be open during the 4B school-wide study hall and monitored by HIBAAP parent volunteers. It will also be available by appointment, Everest said.
Bowman said the college resource room has a similar mission as the guidance department.
“Sometimes we are able to do some things that they can’t do and we learn from them, they learn from us and overall we are presenting a broader, more diverse experience for students in terms of learning about colleges,” he said.
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A HIBAAP website will be online in about two weeks at www.hibaap.org.