College Prep in Pohnpei
While your time as a WorldTeach volunteer may be limited, your impact is certainly not. Volunteers have an abundance of opportunities to get involved in the larger community and make long lasting impacts. Whitney, a WorldTeach Micronesia volunteer, discusses the creation of a college preparation program for her students.
Along with one of my Peace Corps friends, Amber, I’m starting a college prep program for senior students who are interested in attending college in the United States next year. Students applied to the program with a 5 paragraph essay, based on the following questions: Why do you deserve to attend college in the US? What makes you different from other Pohnpeians your age? What do you see yourself doing in 5 years, using the skills and knowledge that you gained in the US? We got 18 essays and chose the 10 best; some of them were so earnest, I almost cried (almost). The program, which will run for 11 weeks, starts this Thursday. We’ll cover resume writing, personal statements, letters of recommendation, scholarships, financial aid, culture shock, standardized tests, and what to expect at college in the US (“Teacher, what’s a kegger?”).
I’m very, very excited about this. The meetings will be held at my house, in our lovely car port, near the big tree and the rusted out SUV. Even though I often feel that everything I say to my students goes in one ear and out the other (truly, I’m surprised if it even makes it into their heads for a second), I hope that this program might provide some students with opportunities that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully the students will show up on Thursday. Every student who was accepted received a very official invitation courtesy of Microsoft Publisher templates; there were quite a few grins as I distributed them. One of my boys, who has been asking for my number for weeks, despite my constant refusals, was absolutely elated by his acceptance–my cell number was written on the inside of the invite, in case someone gets lost; there are no addresses in Pohnpei. Then one student asked how much money was in the envelope. Pohnpei, if nothing else, has me laughing all the time.