Public Relations | Press Releases
Release date 04-17-14
KVCC hosts “Future Friday” to boost high school student aspirations
Fairfield, ME – Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) hosted its first “Future Friday” event on April 11 to boost college aspirations among freshmen from Somerset County high schools.
More than 300 students from Skowhegan Area High School, Madison Area Memorial High School, Carrabec High School, and Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial High School visited KVCC’s Fairfield campus for tours, lunch, and an introduction to college life and the accessibility of higher education.
Future Fridays are a new KVCC initiative to introduce high school students from Somerset County to the conceptand the importance of college in a relaxed setting at their county’s only college – both the Fairfield and Hinckley campuses of KVCC are located in Somerset County.
“The focus of Future Fridays is to encourage students to start thinking about college and career options,” said Teresa Smith, Director of Advising at KVCC. “By bringing them to the KVCC campus, they can learn what programs we offer but also just start to get comfortable with the thought of being on a college campus. The ultimate goal is to establish a relationship early on with students. We want to create a culture where going to college is seen as the norm, whether that be at KVCC or another institution. We want them to see it as the next step that will help them to find work that they enjoy, and give them a means to earn a good living.”
This fall KVCC will open its new 600-acre Harold Alfond campus in Hinckley with state-of-the-art learning facilities in beautiful surroundings. The addition of this second campus located seven miles north of KVCC’s Fairfield campus will open up many new opportunities for Somerset County students in a geographically convenient location.
Plans for the Alfond Campus are ambitious, and by the time the students who visited KVCC on April 11 are eligible for college, the campus will be a hub of academic programs in sustainable agriculture, culinary arts, forestry, business, liberal studies, mental health, and early childhood education. The campus in Fairfield will have more breathing room for other popular programs in technical trades and health professions.
“The idea is to help students not just hear about college from teachers and counselors, but to actually see the range of fascinating programs we have to offer. This is another way to encourage career exploration,” said KVCC President Richard Hopper. “KVCC offers high-quality education at the most affordable tuition in the northeastern United States. What’s more, eighty percent of KVCC students who apply for financial aid qualify for significant scholarships and grants, helping them to avoid any need for student loans. Fully ninety-six percent of KVCC graduates find employment in their chosen field within three months of graduation. For many students KVCC is an obvious first choice.”
Future Fridays were a natural fit for the four high schools that sent students on April 11. Those schools have collaborated for the past four years on an annual career day event known as “Future Pathways.” This year the day included a visit to the Somerset Career and Technical Center (SCTC) as well as KVCC’s Future Friday event.
Students who visited KVCC were asked to evaluate the experience and were overwhelmingly positive in their reactions. Many wrote that the tour was their favorite part of the visit. General comments from the students included, “I think this was an amazing day and an amazing opportunity," and “KVCC is cool.”
“The evaluations that I have had a chance to read all rate KVCC as the best part of the day,” said Ann Thiboutot, Student Services Coordinator for the Somerset Career and Technical Center. “Whatever you did was exactly what they needed. Our hope is that you have increased their aspirations for education beyond high school completion.”
Shannon Ryan, a guidance counselor at Skowhegan Area High School, agreed the visit to KVCC was a great success and an important event for many of the students.
“We believe that by exposing students early in their high school career to both a college campus and a various careers students will be more likely to think about their post-secondary plans while they still have plenty of time to carefully select their courses,” Ryan said.
Smith said more such events are planned and are part of larger efforts to connect with high school students.
“The ultimate plan is to continue to find ways to engage with our local high school students, and to also let them know about KVCC…a great resource that is close to home and which will hopefully be their first choice when thinking about continuing their education,” Smith said.
Read the Morning Sentinel coverage of this event here...
KVCC is one of seven community colleges in Maine that operate under the authority of the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees. KVCC is a public, non-profit, post-secondary institution supported in part by State legislative appropriations and federal funds.
The College offers more than 35 programs of study ranging from two-year associate degrees to certificates, as well as a comprehensive schedule of continuing education courses and business and industry outreach programs.
KVCC is now in the process of expanding operations at its Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley where the acquisition of land and a number of buildings on the former central campus of the Good Will-Hinckley School in 2012 opened the door to new opportunities and programs in sustainable agriculture, culinary arts, and forestry, while alleviating space issues on its Fairfield campus.
Over the next five years, KVCC is positioning itself to become a significant part of the regional food system. In addition to a 120-acre farm on the campus, the College is planning for the development of a food processing facility that will serve as a center for innovation – a place for farmers and entrepreneurs to test and develop new products for market.
KVCC’s new Sustainable Agriculture program will also help local farmers learn innovative and sustainable techniques to expand the growing season to 365 days per year. The College will be crucial to strengthening Maine’s food-based economy and reasserting Maine’s Kennebec Valley as a major food producer. The programs in Sustainable Agriculture and other farm-to-table disciplines will energize and support these efforts and serve as a showplace and working laboratory for Maine farmers, educators, and students of all ages, from all regions of the state.
The College intends to offer programs and services not only for enrolled students, but also for Maine farmers, farm-related business owners, primary and secondary school students, and home gardeners.
KVCC will also continue to offer a wide array of degree programs in liberal arts, trades and technology, business and health professions.
Registration for the summer and fall semesters at KVCC is now open to all students. Students with registration questions should contact the Academic Affairs Office at 453-5822.
For more information on KVCC go to www.kvcc.me.edu.