LSU’s FOCUS Program Gives Local High School Students Opportunity for Collegiate Immersion
BATON ROUGE – The LSU College of Human Sciences & Education’s annual Focusing on College and Unlimited Success, or FOCUS, Program held a luncheon Thursday, July 18, at 11:30 a.m. in the French House.
FOCUS is a college immersion program for high-achieving high school freshman from local under-resourced schools. Funded by philanthropic gifts, FOCUS aims to preserve the humanities programs often cut from school curricula. The program concentrates on arts, humanities and sciences. Participants live on LSU’s campus, attending daily seminars and workshops during the two-week program which mimics the college experience.
LSU Honors College students act as seminar leaders, plan daily activities and mentor the high school attendees. Since 2004, FOCUS continues to offer leadership development and service-learning experiences for LSU Honors College students while expanding opportunities for at-risk high-schoolers.
“Being a part of FOCUS really helps college leaders as well as students, which isn’t something you’d expect from the outside looking in,” said Megan Dunbar, FOCUS director of development and LSU Honors College student. “College leaders learn so much from the students, mostly about compassion and attitude, while students learn the art curriculum. Both learn different ways of seeing the world.”
Luncheons provided by various academic units give the high school students the opportunity to connect with college students. Sixteen FOCUS students met with CHSE staff and five student football players. The luncheon included a presentation about the many degrees and majors offered by CHSE, followed by the football player panel discussion and a presentation on studying and first-year college advice.
Student football players Alfred Blue, Kadron Boone, J.C. Copeland, Justin Maclin and Jermauria Rasco spoke about their sports administration majors, why they chose that path and the difficulties of balancing sports and academics. They also offered advice for college preparation and stressed the importance of planning for the future now.
All five football players are majoring within the college’s School of Kinesiology and were able to give the high school students a first-hand account of why they chose CHSE and what they plan to do professionally after graduation. The players acknowledged that not all LSU student athletes have the opportunity to play professional sports. They shared with FOCUS students the importance of earning their college degrees and that for each of them, studying hard in high school was an important step in being successful, academically, at the college level.
“My favorite part about the visit was talking with the kids and giving them advice about their future,” Boone said. “There’s a really great opportunity here at LSU for students to get their degrees, go on and do great things in their communities.”
“We had a wonderful hour-and-a-half lunch laughing, talking, and learning about college. The students loved talking to the football players and hearing their advice and college experience,” said Emily Watkins, FOCUS director of summer activities and LSU Honors College student.
The program originated as an Honors College program but is now under CHSE. The School of Education’s Teresa Buchanan serves as faculty advisor.
The College of Human Sciences & Education is a nationally accredited division of LSU. Formed in 2012, CHSE brings together programs and capitalizes on individual strengths to create a dynamic new college that addresses the socially significant issues the state and nation face. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Human Resources Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer seven undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,600 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students. The college is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs. Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at http://chse.lsu.edu.
The LSU School of Education offers graduate and undergraduate programs in curriculum and instruction and in educational leadership, research and counseling. The school’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. Visit the School of Education at http://lsu.edu/education.