The number of Smith-Cotton High School graduates who go on to continue their education at an Ivy League college is between slim and none. Principal Wade Norton hopes to change this.
Eight S-C students and two Sacred Heart students got to fly out on a trip to visit multiple Ivy League schools. They had official visits to Harvard University and Dartmouth College, along with unofficial visits with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Norton said the goal of the trip was to open the eyes of students to what they can accomplish even from a small-town education.
“In my three years being principal here, I have not seen one person go on to an Ivy League school,” Norton said, “so we wanted to give students the opportunity to experience the college life at an Ivy League school.”
He also said the factors that play into students being hesitant to attend an Ivy League school include being far away from home, financial issues and lack of knowledge about the schools.
“You can get a quality education at SFCC, Missouri State, Mizzou, or wherever in Missouri,” Norton said. “But the connections you make at Ivy League schools are different.”
During these visits, students got to learn about the application process, the qualifications for getting accepted, and what the school is like.
Norton picked the students based on ACT and SAT scores. He did this because that is one important piece of getting accepted into these schools. They also look into taking mainly sophomores and juniors so they have time to prepare and think about what they want to do in the future.
The trip was sponsored by S-C alumnus Steve Loftus and Bryant Motors.
Mikhail Husyev was the only senior who went on the trip this year and he said he was very grateful for that.
“I felt very privileged,” Husyev said. Although he loved Harvard, the trip was too late into the year to get accepted. “I plan on going to MU or UCM,” Husyev said, “but if I could have gone my junior year I would have definitely applied to Harvard.”
Husyev also said students don’t think Ivy League schools are possible, but they are more affordable than you’d think.
“It’s still feasible to attend or to even apply for these schools,” Husyev said.
Junior Makenna Steger was able to attend the trip this year and said it definitely changed her mind about where she is considering going to college.
“I was excited to go to the East Coast and have the chance to see the school,” Steger said. She also said she is glad she got to go as a junior because the process to apply is extensive. “I’m taking dual (credit) and AP classes so I think I have started preparing for college well,” Steger said. She added that getting to go was not only an educational trip, but she had lots of fun walking around Boston and seeing a different state.
Norton plans on continuing this trip as an annual tradition in hopes that more students will go on to Ivy League schools. He also said he plans to make a few changes for the years to come though.
“We are looking at first semester instead of second semester just so that also gives seniors time to apply before it’s too late,” said Norton, who bought the colleges’ banners to hang up around Smith-Cotton so students can have a reminder of the possibilities in life.
Meredith Kemp is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.