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Taking Steps to College by Eating Food and Mentioning Gwendolyn Rose | Kimberley Africa

February 17, 2014

Kimberley is a junior math major with an interest in sociology from Baldwin Park, CA. She is interested in social justice work and hopes to pursue a career that involves issues of educational access.

I looked at the group of students and asked them to share their name, one thing they learned today, and one thing that they ate at lunch.

“I’m really hungry. I have not eaten yet, but I’m definitely going to stuff my face after this tour.” I shared.

They buzzed with excitement and mentioned the pizza, soda, fries, and ice cream. They asked if they could get tours of the other dining hall and eat a few samples. I joked and said that would be perfect because I would be able to eat while showing them the school. Food is extremely powerful. Students who come to Pomona usually rate the food the highest and they consistently write about it in their thank you cards to us.

Here’s a little piece from a thank you card we received this past semester:

“…I also want to thank you for giving us breakfast it was delicious. Actually that was my favorite part.”

While food may come in first for students during a K-12 Campus Program, I feel that the tour may come in at a very close second. The general mission of the K-12 Campus Program is to give students a ‘pivotal moment’—a moment where students are seeing themselves at college: at a school like Pomona or the school of their dreams. The tour can be one of these instances because it’s not just walking around campus and hearing how the admissions office was supposed to be a hotel and is now haunted by the ghost of Gwendolyn Rose—which is sadly one of the few facts that I know about Pomona’s early history besides its founding date and our problematic alma mater. The tour is thankfully more of a conversation, not necessarily about Pomona’s history. Otherwise, my tours will be mostly silent. It’s more about a conversation about the tour guide’s personal experiences and the interests of the students.

Here’s a piece from another thank you card:

“I never considered about going to Pomona but by having the tour I think I might have second thoughts about going.”

K-12 Programs aren't doing too badly. In fact, I think we’re doing a decent amount of good work. Kids are taking a few steps to college and some are making some pivotal moves.

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