Nearly 20 high school students from Long Branch, Asbury Park and Neptune were welcomed to the Lincroft campus July 21 for the second week of Brookdale’s inaugural College Readiness Camp.
The camp is the conclusion to a statewide pilot program rolled out earlier this year to help high school students plan and develop skills for the next level of their education.
Through July 24, the students will tour Brookdale’s facilities and departments with college faculty and staff, learning the in’s and out’s of such varied disciplines as mathematics, criminal justice, broadcasting, art and digital animation. The program is coordinated by Teresa Healy, dean of mathematics, Dr. Carl Calendar, dean of English and reading, and Ed Johnson, director of Brookdale’s Higher Education Center in Long Branch.
“The purpose of the program is to help spark students’ interest in college and to help them prepare for that next step,” said Johnson. “They have an opportunity to see the careers and the different of areas of life where they can use their academic skills, rather than just sit down and spit it back out in an exam.”
The program, called College Readiness Now, is a grant-funded, statewide initiative that was rolled out by the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges early this year.
Beginning in February, Brookdale faculty partnered with Academy Charter High School in Asbury Park and Long Branch High School to provide students with a 10-week basic skills program in math, English and other disciplines and help them prepare for the rigors of college.
Juniors and seniors from those schools, as well as high schools in Asbury Park and Neptune, were then invited to an immersive College Readiness Camp on the Lincroft campus from July 14 to July 24. While continuing to highlight academic skills such as mathematics and writing, the camp helps to show students the real-word applications of those skills.
In one section, for example, the students learned about the role of math in the stock market from instructor Michael Elmes. Other sections focused on the skills necessary for careers in automotive repair, music technology, the arts and even entrepreneurship.
Andre Adams, a student from Neptune High School, said he enjoyed the opening remarks made by Cameron Mount on July 21. Mount, an adjunct professor in Brookdale’s English department and a former officer in the Navy, explained the various career tracts available in the U.S. military and the benefits of graduating with a degree before enlisting.
Adams, who works in a local hospital, said he is interested in both the military and a career in health care. He is currently leaning toward getting a college degree first, he said, thanks in part to what he has experienced in the readiness program.
“Now I’m really thinking that I should do college first,” he said. “I’ve seen how much more education the instructors have than I do. But this has shown me that I could be that type of person in class, that I could be a doctor or a professor if put in the time and the work. I definitely could do it.”
The students also sat down with Brookdale Police Department Senior Officer Risheem Whitten, who explained the benefits of a criminal justice education. Whitten, who overcame a series of struggles early in his life to pursue his dream of a career in law enforcement, said all doors are open to the students so long as they work hard and stay focused.
“Don’t let anything let in the way of your goals,” said Whitten, whose daughter recently graduated from Brookdale and is currently working toward a career as a cardiac surgeon. “You guys are at a very special place right now. If you want it, it’s there for you.”
Click here for more photos of the event.