Lauren Henderson points out sights Friday at Columbus State University during a campus tour.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - Instead of class periods, crowded hallways and a cafeteria lunch, 54 students from Faith Middle School spent a day exploring the world of higher learning Friday during a road trip to Columbus State University.

"It's all spaced out," said 14-year-old Jewel Caruso, after touring the many buildings on campus. "You can talk with your friends between classes. You can have more freedom."

Jewel hopes to be a cardiothoracic surgeon some day and plans to go to college to make her dream a reality. That's why she signed up for the road trip, a new opportunity this school year thanks to Child, Youth & School Services.

"I wanted to see how the campus works and what you do in college, what classes you take and what majors there are - just to know the university in general," Jewel said. "It's important to know that now so in high school (I) can start preparing."

Eighth-grader Daniel Anders said he would like to attend future road trips.
"It's been great," he said. "I've learned that college is pretty big and there are a lot of learning opportunities."

India Barnett, an honor roll student at Faith, said it was her first time visiting a college campus.

"It's nice to see how it's laid out," she said. "You ... have the experience of looking at a college, so when you get older it won't actually be that much of a surprise to you. It's a lot easier to see what it's like (in advance). We are planning for the future. We're going to be prepared."

The trip to CSU was the third of five road trips with CYSS this semester. Their next stop will be Kennesaw State University April 30.

"Basically, what we're trying to do is expose the students to college life," said Connie Carter, CYSS liaison officer in charge of the program. "It ignites that spark. It plants a seed (to) say, 'This is possible for me.'"

The trips give many students the opportunity to visit universities they never would have been able to, Carter said, since CYSS takes on the financial burden of travel.

Past road trips include Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala., and the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga. Trips typically feature a campus tour, demonstrations, informational assemblies and opportunities to interact with current college students, Carter said.

The visits are free for military children in seventh through 12th grades.

Now is the time for kids to start learning about college curriculums, study abroad programs and the importance of both GPA and extracurricular activities, said Ruby Lee Strickland, a teacher at Faith Middle School who attends all the road trips.

"I have heard kids say, 'I know now I'm going to college,'" Strickland said. "Now it's concrete."
To find out more about upcoming college road trips, call 706-626-0688.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16