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Summer program shows students college life, benefits

Briana Harris

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Rising juniors and seniors attending Restoration Academy will have the chance to get a taste of college life while participating in a summer program here at the University of Alabama.

Restoration Academy is a small, private Christian school, located in Fairfield, Ala., which aims to address the needs of students living in urban areas of Birmingham.

“I believe it is very important to expose students to college life at an early age,” said Lowell K. Davis, assistant dean of students and assistant to the vice provost for academic affairs at UA, who will serve as director of the summer program.

This summer camp will help Restoration Academy students understand what it takes to be successful in college and beyond, Davis said.

The summer program, held July 8-13, will give students the opportunity to attend workshops on public speaking, financial aid, the college admissions process and career counseling. In addition to attending workshops, participants will go to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, rock climb, canoe and attend a pool party.

“This camp is designed to whet the students’ appetites for college life,” said Molly Stone, director of student affairs, advancement and volunteer services at Restoration Academy. “We want to give them a taste of what it actually feels like to be on campus like the Capstone and to give them an extra incentive to finish high school strong.”

Professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP is partnering with the University and Restoration Academy for this program. Ernst & Young also partners with Restoration Academy to serve as mentors to students at the academy.

“The most satisfying part of my job is to be able to be a mentor and an advocate in the life of a young person and to see the impact that relationship can make,” said Nick Wade, Ernst & Young executive sponsor.

Out of the 270 students that attend Restoration Academy, 35 will be participating in the summer program.

Two of the students attending the summer camp have graduated high school and are incoming freshman into the University in the fall.

Stone said the work being done at Restoration Academy has shifted students’ way of thinking from ‘if I go to college’ to ‘when I go to college.’

“Many students who enroll at Restoration Academy do not think that college is an option, but we expect all our students to attend,” Stone said. “We have made a concerted effort to make sure our students are ready for the next step in their education journey.”

Stone, a UA graduate, said she is amazed at the opportunity the University has made possible for her students.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my alma mater,” she said. “Throughout the process, I’ve been so impressed with the desire of the UA administration to highlight college, college life and the benefits of college.”

Wade said he hopes this camp makes the dream of attending college more real to the participants.

“I hope it opens their eyes to what is possible for them and motivate them to shut out all of the distractions and work hard to achieve their goal,” Wade said.

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Summer program shows students college life, benefits