As the College welcomes hundreds of gifted and talented middle and high school students to its premises today for the William and Mary Center for Gifted Education’s “Focus on the Future” event, Tribespeople may discover that they are not the only ones shedding sweat over post-college careers.
This event, which has occurred on campus annually for ten years, works towards the goal of exposing adolescents, from sixth-graders to high school seniors, to career opportunities that await them in the future.
Representatives from 32 career fields, including William and Mary professors and practicing professionals, will conduct 45-minute presentations, ranging from lectures to interactive building tours, and field questions from students, informing them of the academic requirements for and the nature of the various careers.
Meanwhile, the teeming youngsters’ parents will attend sessions of their own, learning about parenting gifted children, financial planning for college, and supporting the interests of their children.
According to Lydia Lassalle, Graduate Assistant for Precollegiate Learning in the Center for Gifted Education, the express motive for the Center’s initiation of the program lies in a sense of community service.
“The Center feels an obligation to the community. We want to provide all the services we can to the community, be it for local families or those from out of town,” said Lassalle.
Indeed, though the Center requires a registration fee from participating families, it makes no profit from the event.
Still, there is no denying that the program serves as a bridge between college and country.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for families to see the campus if they're not from this area. Families have come from as far as Pennsylvania and Connecticut,” said Lassalle.
One session deals specifically with parents of children with an interest in William and Mary, and families have the option of taking tours of the campus upon the conclusion of the final session.
However, the Center does not keep data as to whether students have attended the College on the basis of experiences with “Focus on the Future”.
“We have several students who return each year. The families really enjoy the program. The students like to come back and attend sessions on different professions,” said Lassalle.
The 500 kids participating in the event will use the University Center, Tucker Hall, and Blair Hall, eating a catered lunch by the British Corner Shop.
The Center for Gifted Education will also hold weekly enrichment programs beginning in February, and will also conduct week-long summer sessions.