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July 14, 2004

Entrada Scholars Program

Calvin College will host a graduation ceremony for its Entrada Scholars Program on Friday, July 16 at 11 am in Gezon Auditorium on its campus.

The Entrada Scholars Program at Calvin College offers ethnic minority high school students a "gateway" to the future: the opportunity to experience college learning and living while earning college credit. The heart of the Entrada Scholars Program is a regular three-week Calvin College summer school course that Entrada students take with the Calvin students.

This Friday's ceremony will mark a passage for a total of 57 students of color from Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland and beyond (New York, Florida, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania plus such locales as Guam, Austria and Japan).

It will be an emotional finale to a month-long adventure that sees the high school students not only take a regular class, but also live in a residence hall, worship and grow spiritually together, eat in the dining hall, study in the library, shoot hoops in the gym, order late-night pizzas, do a service project, get a heavy dose of computer skills -- in other words, have a typical college experience.

"We want students to get a true sense of what college -- particularly Calvin -- is all about," says director Rhae Ann Booker (above). "At the end of Entrada, students have taken an actual Calvin class for credit and they've lived on campus for a month. The Entrada experience gives them a good look at what college life entails and what it takes to succeed in college. It also gives them a taste of what Calvin's unique brand of Christian education is all about."

Entrada Scholars are assigned an academic coach, a trained teacher, who attends classes with them in the morning and leads a study period (Academic Coaching session) with the scholars following the class. In other words, Academic Coaches model and teach scholars how to be successful in their specific course and in college in general. As a result the Entrada scholars often do better in their courses than the regular college students.

Last January Calvin received for its Pathways to Possibilities (P2P) program and its Entrada Scholars Program grants totaling $450,000, including a $250,000 grant (over two years) from the Maryland-based VanLunen Foundation and a $200,000 grant (over four years) from the locally based Meijer Foundation.

Entrada has had strong success in terms of getting high schools students to move on to college with a 96% success rate, something both Meijer and VanLunen resonated with in deciding to make their gifts.

Since its inception in 1991, about 350 students have completed Entrada. Some have gone on to Calvin; some attended other colleges. Almost all have pursued some sort of post high school education.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)
616-526-7069 (f)