As spring semester gets underway, more than 1,600 sophomores, juniors and seniors in the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) Next Generation Scholars program are focusing on financial literacy, college applications, mock interviews and college visits. These students are having a banner year as part of a welcomed return to in-person programming designed to ensure that students graduate ready for their next steps in college, career and life. During the first half of the year, students from North Caroline and Colonel Richardson High Schools visited college campuses, toured local businesses and participated in on-site college admissions events.
“Our interpersonal connection with students, school leaders and staff, and businesses has always been key to our success,” says Nona Carroll, MBRT chief strategy officer and Next Generation Scholars program director. “That’s why it was critical that we kicked off this academic year with gusto and continue to maintain momentum, bringing the full force of our local coordinators like Caroline County’s Morgan Cox to our schools and communities to continue supporting students from underserved populations.”
The fall semester started with a bang as part of Maryland’s College Application Campaign (MCAC) to help students complete at least one application to a post-secondary school. Colonel Richardson High School staff wore college shirts all week and 15 families attended financial aid night. At North Caroline High School, teachers decorated pennants with their alma mater’s names to hang on their doors and students joined school counselors and Mrs. Cox during lunch shifts to work on applications. Military representatives visited the school to talk with students and more than 60 people attended financial aid night.
“I wouldn’t have been admitted to McDaniel College without the help of Mrs. Cox or without the school contacting McDaniel, so I appreciate all the support I got,” said Tyrik Braboy, a senior at Colonel Richardson High School who completed his application during MCAC.
In October, 43 Next Generation Scholars from Caroline County joined nearly 115 peers from Allegany, Dorchester, Kent and Wicomico counties in MBRT’s first-ever College Beltway Tour. Split into two groups, the 77 students on Team Tigers spent their morning touring Towson University and the 80 students on Team Bears began their day at Morgan State University. After lunch, the teams switched locations to explore the other college before heading home.
“We planned these learning experiences to capture the excitement and positive energy students had as they returned to in-person learning,” said Morgan Cox, MBRT’s Caroline County coordinator. “There were so many smiles it was definitely hard to tell who was more excited—us or the students—to all be back together.”
The two high schools also hosted on-site college admission events for Next Generation Scholars, which included individualized interviews with college admission representatives. Prior to the on-site visits, Next Generation Scholars submitted applications and high school transcripts. As a result, four Colonel Richardson High seniors received early acceptance to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and eight North Caroline High seniors received early acceptance to Salisbury University.
Sophomore Next Generation Scholars also returned to in-person Career Tours in December during which they learned about education requirements and what occurs during a typical workday while also touring offices and seeing workers in their professional environment. Twenty-three students from North Caroline High School and 27 students from Colonel Richardson High School visited Caroline CountyPublic Schools, Caroline County Sheriff’s Department and Caroline County Office of Economic Development. At the Office of Economic Development, students learned about careers available when working for the government and participated in a question-and-answer session with small business owners.
“After a great first half of the year, we’re looking forward to spring programming and our second graduation,” said Carroll.
For 30 years, MBRT has been connecting the business community with local schools through its Maryland Scholars Speakers Bureau and STEM Specialists in the Classroom programs. In 2017, MBRT added the Next Generation Scholars program, which provides funding through the Howard P. Rawlings Maryland Guaranteed Access Grant, administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), to enhance education and career awareness as well as college completion for high school students with a demonstrated financial need. The Guaranteed Access Grant provides an award that will help cover the cost of full-time study at a Maryland college or university for low-income families.
MBRT currently serves more than 1,600 students in six high schools across five counties. The organization is one of several that partner with leadership and school counselors at select schools throughout the state to provide grade-specific services to ensure that students who are part of Next Generation Scholars graduate ready for their next steps in college, career and life. MBRT coordinators help students and parents understand that college is an option for everyone while bridging the knowledge gap that exists for many families about college and their chosen career paths.
Learn more about MBRT at www.mbrt.org.
About Maryland Business Roundtable for Education
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) is a nonprofit coalition of leading employers that have made a long-term commitment to support education reform and improve student achievement in Maryland. MBRT is the catalyst for business, government and education to drive high student achievement that ensures a competitive future workforce for a world-class economy. For more information, please visit http://www.mbrt.org/.