Students Get Taste of College Life at Evanston Academy


On any given Friday at Evanston Academy, you can find faculty, staff and some students sporting apparel representing their alma mater, fraternity or sorority or college of their dreams. But “College Friday” takes things one step further.

Twenty-six volunteers, many students from neighboring Xavier University and University of Cincinnati, and graduates who are well into their professions visited Evanston Academy for College Friday.

Twenty-six volunteers demonstrated to students – from preschool to sixth grade – that the college of their dreams could be well within reach. These volunteers included current college students – many from neighboring Xavier University and University of Cincinnati – as well as graduates who are well into their professions, including some with advanced degrees. Professionals included pharmacists, social workers, entrepreneurs and more.

“You are here to open minds today,” said Principal Stacey Hill-Simmons during the meet-and-greet before volunteers met the students. “You may get in front of students who have never had anyone in their family with a professional job like you have, so talk to them about your experiences.

“Our goal is to promote college as the natural grade 13 for our students,” continued Hill-Simmons.

Students were full of questions: “How much does college cost?” “Why did you decide to study film?” “How did you know what you wanted to do as your job?”

In addition to facilitating conversations between volunteers and students about college, the day’s other goal was to jumpstart new volunteering activity at the school. Some volunteers played games with students or helped small groups work through math problems.

“This is not a ‘one-time’ thing,” said Monna Beckford, community resource coordinator. “We want to keep fostering these types of relationships and including volunteers who want to give back to our students.”

Keep up with Evanston Academy and the many ways they are preparing students for college and life at



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