The Center for Community Research and Engagement held the event “Sailing for a Day: Adventures of a Pirate” today, inviting elementary and middle school students from Newark to be inspired by a taste of college life and the idea of continuing education.
The event, organized by project coordinator Tawayna Bailey of the CCRE, involved local students in third to eighth grade participating in workshops around campus with the women’s basketball team and several professors after hearing a speech from Mike Reuter, a professor within the Stillman School of Business and director of Stillman’s Center for Leadership Development.
“Nothing is impossible, nothing at all,” Reuter said during his speech. “In fact, if you put an apostrophe after the ‘I,’ it becomes ‘I’m possible.'”
Reuter asked the students to imagine themselves five years in the past and 25 years into the future. He explained to them that life has no limits, no boundaries and infinite possibilities if they so choose.
“This is your day,” he said. “You’re taking a day out of your life to put your foot in the ground and say ‘at this very moment, I’m going to change who I am.'”
Student volunteers led the visiting Newark students to various workshops held by the women’s basketball team, assistant professors of Political Science, Dr. Robert Pallitto and Dr. Michael Taylor and Dr. Forrest Pritchett, a freshman mentor with the Freshman Studies Program, in the buildings around campus. They also participated in a scavenger hunt.
The classroom workshops educated students in urban area wildlife, being accepted to college and recycling to help the environment.
CCRE Director Dr. Laura Melendez Pallitto led the event and spoke to the students, showing her excitement for their potential and how much their enjoyment of the event means to her.
“The event is to inspire the students, and assure them that college can help them reach their goals,” sophomore CCRE intern Melissa Bonamici said.
TD Bank sponsored the entire event, which has been planned since February. Students were given t-shirts, bandanas, backpacks and small school supplies.
Bailey also honored Jessica Moore, who had served with the CCRE, and used her memory as motivation for the students to understand how commitment to service and education is both important and enjoyable.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.