Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Huntsville ISD, Sam Houston State University and "The Bearkat Promise," Committed to Providing an Education for Huntsville & Walker County Students

What is college REALLY like?  How do you get from here, to there?

Bonding with a Sam Houston State Dance student!
I mean, what is it like to be a student at Sam Houston State University?

Lee Miller, Director of the Center for Community Engagement
at SHSU (and... a Hornet, a Hornet Mom & a Bearkat) is hanging with our Seniors.
Although SHSU sits right in the middle of our school district, many of our students don't really know what it's like at the University, and may not even consider 'Sam', or college of any kind, as a part of their future.

College may not be for everybody, but without knowing all of their options, do students really have a choice in their future?

Eat 'em Up Kats!  and Sting 'em Hornets!!
It's hard not to catch the enthusiasm of the student tour guides, aka "Sambassadors"!
Recent efforts, collaborations between leadership at both Sam Houston State and Huntsville Independent School District, are working to open students' eyes, broaden their experiences and maximize their possibilities through partnering together to bring our students to the campus of 'Sam.'

The Senior Class experience was called College Sense.  It included both academic presentations
and sessions that included the "how-to's" of applying and financial aid.

Two recent field trips are an example of the effort.  All of the sixth graders made, for most of them, their first trip to the campus and got taste of college life.

A few weeks later, our High School seniors made a similar but more involved field trip that included tours of the campus, student panels, discussions with financial aid folks and a very special announcement made by our Superintendent Dr. Howell Wright and  Dr. Jaime Hebert, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Sam Houston State.

Picture these two at college.
Dr. Herbert shared information about the university's standing "Bearkat Promise," which states that if a student desires to attend Sam Houston State University, the university is committed to working with that student and their parents to make it happen.  In other words, if our Hornet students "do their part" in high school by preparing themselves and meet the admission requirements, the University will work to find the financing through available grants, scholarships and other forms of financial aid to make that college dream a reality for them!

Mrs. Cason, a chaperone on the Senior trip, has a second to pose for a pic!
(Thanks Mrs. Cason!)

I can almost picture the Sam Houston Statue saying, "Good to see you!"
Here a student is getting down to how these meal plans work!
Follow the dotted line....
Taking a moment to let it sink in.
'Sambassadors' need to love people and having fun, and clearly these guys are good at their job!

Jennifer Kempton is our College & Career Counselor, and she was 'in the zone' at SHSU.
She has loads of information on her page on the HHS website, which you can find here

What is college really like?
Students could ask questions of the student panel,
 a diverse group that was happy to answer any and all the Seniors had.
They're listening...

Huntsville High School Principal Beth Burt and High School Counselor Mandy Stewart
Those students who knew they were heading to Sam
went up to get their first 'Sam' T-Shirt as an accepted student!

Rosa Mejia is the Assistant Director of the Visitor Center,
 and her team of 'Sambassadors' took our students all over the campus!
Hey, I know that guy!
That's HISD Board of Trustees President (and On Campus Recruitment Coordinator for SHSU) Patrick Antwi
with Clair Collins, Senior Admissions Counselor.  These are among the SHSU folks that worked hard to host
our students on both the Sixth Grade and Senior Class field trips.

Just some of the "Sambassadors" with Visitor Center Counselor Kristin Limón (third from left), Visitor Center Coordinator  Melanie Zuniga  (center back with glasses),  On Campus Recruitment Manager Courtney Chastine (in white) and in rear (with arm raised in back) GO Center Counselor Casey Cox.

Let's do this!

Mrs. Davis, one of the Sixth Grade chaperones rocking that
"windswept" look!  It suits her, doesn't it?
(Did we mention it was cold and windy that day??)
This may be the first of many trips to the Lowman Student Center for some of these students.
We made the sign!!
SHSU On-Campus Recruitment Coordinator welcomes the students to the campus!
OK this is interesting...

Practice makes perfect, and it's best to start early--- Eat 'em Up Kats!
And now, to one of the cool buildings on campus, the Gaertner Performing Arts Center!

The students were able to sample a variety of classes,
this guy is in a movement class in the Dance department.

She's getting into this class!

Visiting a rehearsal studio was probably a first for some of these sixth graders.

This is a pretty cool day!

Sixth graders on the move...

"Separate checks, or ?.."  Actually, it was on the house!
The Fresh Food Company's Old Main Market generously provided free lunch for BOTH of our trips, all
of the sixth graders and all of the senior class! 

Is this college life? OK, I can get down with this!

Lunch was amazing!

Huntsville Hornet, future Bearkat?

This is a pretty dang orderly line for free pizza!

Wow!  That looks good!

How did this student swing meeting  his mom for lunch at the Old Main Market?
Easy, his mom works there!

Thank you Sean, Annlyn and the entire Old Main Market management team and crew!

To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, "I'll be back!"

Heading home with a full stomach, head full of ideas and
 a picture in their mind of what may be in store for them.
The next day, we couldn't resist taking this student's pic rocking
the BearkatNation shirt she received the day before at SHSU!


  1. Another great H-Factor keeping us informed of all of the great things going on. Thanks for picking this up again.

  2. Great job Matthew! I love these. I'm so glad to see one for my former kiddos and my college! Eat 'Em Up Kats!!!