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AMERICUS (June 10, 2013)--Twelve students from Americus-Sumter County High School South Campus got a closer look at college life for three months during the spring, as they participated in the Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) Near Peer Program. This program is funded by the College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) of the U.S. Department of Education.

The goal of the Near Peer Program is to prepare underrepresented students for college by sharing with them the higher education experience and the practices required for achieving success in college. These 12 students participated in sessions on the college application process and resume writing, along with cultural and college-exchange activities. Since most of the students had never visited a college campus before, the group took field trips to GSW, South Georgia Technical College, and the University of Georgia.

Led by Dr. Chuchu Wu and Dr. Queen Brown, professors from the GSW School of Education, the program was made possible through collaborative leadership from Principal Walter Knighton and Counselor Tameka Jackson of Americus-Sumter High School. Four GSW students served as mentors, guiding these high school students through the college application process. Many of the participants have already applied for and plan to attend college.

The objective of CACGP funding is to help students (i.e. first-time freshmen, transfers, adult learners or members of the military) who might not otherwise have a chance at higher education.

High school juniors and seniors interested in participating in the Near Peer Program in spring 2014 are urged to contact Yolanda West from the GSW School of Education at (229) 931-2146. College students interested in serving as mentors should also contact West.

- GSW -

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