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International School for the Liberal Arts students’ college trip

Learning of their options

ISLA students gather on the campus of St. Lawrence University on the first day o @gosportsusa and @parlourproductions

ISLA students gather on the campus of St. Lawrence University on the first day of their two-day trip.

Students check out the fare in the dining hall at SUNY Potsdam. @gosportsusa and @parlourproductions

Students check out the fare in the dining hall at SUNY Potsdam.

It was still dark when 40 sophomores and juniors from the International School for the Liberal Arts, a UFT community learning school in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, boarded buses at 5 a.m. for a six-hour trip to visit college campuses in upstate New York. For most, the two-day College Hunting trip on April 12 and 13 was their first trip away from the sidewalks of New York City. Teachers and sponsors hoped the trip would encourage the students’ interest in college and motivate them to work hard to meet admission standards. The first stop was St. Lawrence University in Canton where, after lunch in the dining hall, student ambassadors led the big-city visitors on a tour of the campus followed by a meeting to learn about the school’s admission policies. The next morning, it was on to the State University of New York at Potsdam, where students again got a chance to examine dorms, athletic facilities and academic buildings and to sample the menu in the dining hall, where they were delighted to learn there was unlimited access to ice cream. By the time the students met with professors and admissions counselors, they had discovered their voices. “I was happy to see my students asking questions about financial aid, academic support and other things that will impact their selection,” said Rafael Vasquez, a school counselor and the trip coordinator who is a Potsdam alumnus. “The trip gave students a first-hand chance to see and to hear about the wide range of options and resources that college would provide to help them build careers.” Community School Director Frank Cutrone said that in follow-up surveys about the trip, students expressed a deeper understanding of the importance of academic achievement. A nonacademic highlight of the trip was a chance for the students to skate at the Lake Placid Olympic Center. Funding for the trip was provided by state Sen. Jeffrey Klein and other community stakeholders.

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