Sixteen Mexican-American eighth-graders from DeKalb’s Clinton Rosette Middle School will spend Wednesday, May 4, at NIU to get a glimpse of their future college lives.
“The students, many whose parents have not attended college, will learn how a college education can set them on a path that changes their lives and the world they inhabit,” said Mayra C. Daniel, associate professor in the NIU Department of Literacy Education.
The students will be accompanied by their teacher, Billy Hueramo, who is an alum of the Department of Literacy Education; and their family liaison, Valerie Du Bois, also an NIU graduate.
During their five-hour visit, they will meet Margee Myles, director of Advising and Student Services in the College of Education; visit NIU’s Latino Resource Center; and talk to Latino students currently enrolled at NIU about their experiences as college students.
When the group visits the Department of Literacy Education, they will meet Norman Stahl, the department’s chair. The students will also eat lunch in one of the university’s residence halls.
“If they do attend college, the majority of them will be first-generation college students in their families,” Daniel said. “We want to plant the seed of the certainty of higher education in their lives.”
Although Clinton Rosette sits in the shadow of a prestigious state university, inviting students onto campus will allow them to see the diversity of its students’ cultures and the array of academic and extracurricular programs at NIU, she said.
“With a college education, these middle school students can grow up to be authors, lawyers, engineers, educators, and scientists,” she said. “We want these Mexican American students to know they have access to an education and the right to be successful in the United States.”
Daniel is currently on sabbatical. She is conducting research at Clinton Rosette Middle School.
“Growing up with parents who have not attended college poses challenges to students because many are not exposed to the tradition of learning beyond high school as we know it to be in this country,” Daniel added.
by Gerard Dziuba