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Midwestern College Program Introduces More Children to College Life

Earlier this week we reported on the KinderCaminata event hosted by Orange County's community college district. It seems that such events are not contained to the west coast, because this week also saw Newark's Central Ohio Technical College opening its doors to children as part of its first extended-session CollegeASPIRE program.

[Caroline Metzler] and her 15 classmates have been meeting with Central Ohio Technical College representatives for the past month as part of CollegeASPIRE, which seeks to give younger students a sample of college. This spring's theme has been studying cultural diversity, and students have been able to try foods from different cultures as part of it.

"We want children to know that opportunities are out there for higher education," said Tara Houdeshell, COTC gateway community access coordinator.

The article reports that the program was offered before in the summer, but this is its first foray into activities during the school year. The program is open to fifth-graders, and this year has been focusing on multiculturalism, engaging students in everything from book discussions regarding race issues to sampling foods from various ethnic origins. For field trips, students leap from Amish Country to Cincinnati's Freedom Center.

The goal, of course, is to get kids interested in college and to understand the options they have available to them in the future -- and the program is even having some unexpected positive side effects. In one reported instance, the mother of a child in the program has gone back to school.

Hunter's mother, Amber Mulpas, also is starting to take college classes.

"It makes a good example," she said. "Eventually, (he'll) know that it's not too late (to go to school).

With this kind of positive influence, hope for the future seems bright.

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