Students inspired by College Tour 2012, educator says

Shelina Warren, a 9th grade economics and civics teacher at Jack Robey Junior High School, recently conducted the College Tour 2012 project with her students.

Thanks to the financial support of, Economics Arkansas, and the Arkansas Humanities Council, students in Warren’s classes participated in the grant project.

College Tour 2012 enabled her students to research one of the top 25 colleges in the U.S., create a booklet on each college, participate in literacy and test-taking mini-workshops to help prepare ninth graders for

college, and take a mock ACT test. Deloris Lovell, a Pine Bluff School District curriculum specialist, was a test proctor.

Students were inspired by the experience.

“After researching Emory University, Timothy Reynolds realized he plans to go to that college. Kenan Brown wants to go to the University of Tennessee,” Warren said.

Each Friday, Warren wears a college shirt to expose her students to a particular college. Also, college pennants and posters are displayed in her classroom.

“One Friday, students wore their favorite college shirts to school to encourage their classmates to graduate and go beyond,” she said.

Twenty-two students were administered the mock ACT test on March 10. The highest composite score was 18 and the highest scale score was 21. Students were able to see what areas needed improvement so their scores would be higher for the actual ACT test.

“Cameron Withers learned that time is an essential part of passing the test. He would recommend other

ninth graders take the mock test because ‘it will eliminate future struggles that you may have with the test,’” Warren said.

Jade Thompson realized that the ACT isn’t as easy as she thought it would be, although she scored high in relation to her classmates, Warren said.

Demetria Harris was encouraged.

“I’m glad I took this practice ACT because it shows me that I will have to be ready if I want to make a high score,” Harris said.

Bysheria James said that as a result of taking this mock ACT test she will take her current classes more seriously, according to Warren.

The grant also offered students an opportunity to tour a local high school and four public universities to observe college classes, meet with faculty and staff, and experience campus life.

“This tour is provided to encourage students to start early in preparing for their future, to see the value of an education from their exposure to different (campus) environments and to help students make an educated decision on what college they might want to enroll in,” Warren said.