By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
Third graders from the Lebanon Special School District learned about the possibilities of higher learning as they toured Cumberland University yesterday.
Cumberland Recruiter Rachel Henson was just one of the many guides who led students around the facility and shared stories. Henson played host to Ms. Martha Boyds from Castle Heights Elementary, showing them through Baird Chapel, Memorial Hall and Labry Hall on the schools campus.
Henson told students of the schools rich history during the Civil War. As she stood in Baird Chapel, she explained that although the room is called a chapel, it has not been affiliated with a particular church. Instead, Baird Chapel has become a venue for concerts, weddings and other social functions. The first school burned down during the Civil War, Henson said, explaining to the boys and girls in attendance that the Civil War was a feud between the north and the south. This school has been here since 1892.
On the tour, the children seemed the most impressed, not by Labry Halls four computer labs and coffee kiosk but by the animal room in upstairs Memorial Hall. Henson said that the animals mounted in the room were hunted by a friend of the university and donated to be housed in the hall.
Coming here and touring Cumberland gives these children a goal to have a higher education and see what all Lebanon has to offer, Boyd said.
Sam Houston Elementary Assistant Principal Julie Draper said that the program is all about exposure, making college not just an option but a concrete concept. They think of college as a place far away. The students were shown the residential halls and learned that college students live on campus. They said, Wow, you can live at school, Draper said of the reaction.
We just started it last year. Our long term goal is to make a relationship with each university in each grade, so that by the time a student has been in grades 3 thru 8, they will have exposure to these universities. Last year, many students left Cumberland saying, That is where I am going to go to college one day.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.