The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 25, 2013

4 city students selected for PSU summer program

Frank Sojak

JOHNSTOWN — Four sophomores from Greater Johnstown High School have been selected to participate in Penn State’s Summer College Opportunity Program in Education.

The program is for sophomores from multicultural backgrounds who are interested in a career in education. The program’s goal is to promote and increase the recruitment, participation and success rates of under-represented students in higher education and more specifically in the education field.

The four-week-long program will begin June 30.

Students will live on the university’s main campus while they take college courses, prepare for college board tests and further develop time management and other study skills.

Shayla Barrett said the program means much to her.

“I hope to get a feel for what college is like, so that I can be better prepared when I get there,” said Shayla, who plans to become a counselor for high school students. “I think it’s a great program.”

A number of gifted students don’t put an emphasis on a career in education, choosing instead to go in the fields of medicine and engineering, Shayla said. Education, however, is an important field because educators will be teaching tomorrow’s leaders, she said.

Emily Lebron said she is thankful for the opportunity to be in the program.

“I’m very excited,” said Emily, who wants to become a teacher or guidance counselor. “It will be a good experience. Their goals are to make you independent, help you to further your education and help you to decide what career in education would be best for you.”

Patricia Walker said she wants to take part in the program because it will create many opportunities for her in education and other fields.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’ve never been away from home, so it will teach me to become more independent.”

She said the program will motivate her to accomplish great things in high school.

Patricia hopes to become a special education teacher in secondary school or a professor in the health department at a university.

Jonah Strenski, who wants to teach history or English, said one of the college courses they will take is English literature.

“It will help us to build our writing and reading skills, two important skills that teachers need,” Jonah said.

“I’m looking forward to going out there and meeting other students who want to see the same goalsā€ˆin education that I want to see.”

High school Principal Michael Vuckovich said the four are a great representation of the city of Johnstown and another example of the “college-going” culture being created at the school.

“We are extremely proud of their commitment and dedication to being great students,” he said.

Vuckovich said only a small number of students from throughout the state were selected for the program, so it’s an honor that four are from Johnstown.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.