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Entrada 2005 In Full Swing
July 1, 2005

Calvin College will host a graduation ceremony for its Entrada Scholars Program on Friday, July 15 at 11 am in Gezon Auditorium on its campus.

There 2005 Entrada Scholars will be recognized for the completion of the program, senior Entrada scholars coming to Calvin in the fall will be inducted into the Tapestry Leadership Program, a scholarship will be given to an entering freshman and the Entrada Distinguished Alumni award will be given.

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 year there are 43 students at Entrada representing 17 different states and three different continents!

Entrada began on June 19 with orientation for students and parents and orientation for just students continued on June 20 and June 21. On June 22 students and Entrada staff participated in a series of games, group initaitives, ropes courses and more, an experience that, says Entrada director Rhae-Ann Booker "quickly moved the participants from a group of individuals to members of a community: the Entrada community."

The Entrada students then began what is at the heart of the Entrada program: a Calvin College summer school course.

All Entrada students take one course, working side-by-side with current Calvin students in such disciplines as English, communication arts and sciences, biology, history, philosophy and psychology.

Booker says the Entrada students are doing well in the courses and actively engaged in discussions with their professors, Calvin students and fellow Entrada students.

"Calvin professors," she says with a chuckle, "have already shared that in many cases the Entrada scholars are leading the class discussions!"

Entrada students also live in a residence hall setting during the program, 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 Booker. "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.

David Koning, a 1995 graduate of Calvin with a double major in History and English, has been teaching at Grand Rapids Christian High School for the last 10 years, ever since graduating Calvin, and also is in his 10th summer as an Entrada academic coach. He says the Entrada program is an important resource for high school students.

"It's a great program," he says, "because so many kids go off to college alone and without much support. Through Entrada, students not only get to learn how to be successful college students in the classroom and out, they get to do so while being part of a community that cares about and supports them. Better yet, they get to do at Calvin, a first-rate school with first-rate professors."

Entrada is supported by grants from the Maryland-based VanLunen Foundation and the locally based Meijer Foundation.

Booker says 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.

In fact, since its inception in 1991, about 400 students have completed Entrada. Some have gone on to Calvin (about 70 Entrada alumni are currently at Calvin) and some attended other colleges. Almost all have pursued some sort of post high school education.