SEAD brings inner- city youth to campus

by Elliot Olshansky | 7/12/02 5:00am

This week, approximately 30 rising high-school sophomores from underfunded public schools in major Northeastern cities will participate in Dartmouth's second annual Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth program.

The students attend daily classes in math, English and computer science, specifically designed for SEAD, participate in various athletic, community-building and cultural activities on campus, and discuss post secondary options.

Last summer, when 30 students came to Dartmouth for the inaugural SEAD program, it represented the first step in fulfilling a longtime goal of the Education department.

When the program began, Tucker Foundation Dean Stuart Lord said that the Education department had a long-standing desire to carry out a summer educational enrichment program to benefit disadvantaged youth.

"SEAD is founded on the desire to enrich our high school students' vision of what is possible in their lives," said SEAD Program Director Jay Davis '90.

According to Mark Kissling '02, who is in his second year working with the SEAD program, the benefits the students received were very visible.

"My most vivid memory of last year's SEAD is a combination of the first and last moments of the program," said Kissling. "When students arrived on the opening day, very little was said amongst them. When students departed after the two-week program, tears of happiness streamed down their faces as they said goodbye to their new friends."

But it is not the students alone who benefit from the SEAD program. Six undergraduate interns from Dartmouth's Education Department work with six master teachers from local schools to teach SEAD classes.

Also, each student in the SEAD program is paired with a Dartmouth sophomore, who serves as a mentor. Lola Adedokun '03, a mentor for SEAD last summer, said,"My mentee showed me as much as I hope that I showed her. Her sense of perspective, her drive, her sincerity and her talent encouraged me to immerse myself in the pursuit of attending to the needs of others."

For the SEAD program and its students, those possibilities are still expanding in 2002.

This month marks the beginning of a second component to the SEAD program. In addition to the two-week SEAD program for rising sophomores, now known as SEAD I, rising juniors who participated in the SEAD program last summer will return to Dartmouth for "SEAD II," a one-week program focusing on a theme of "Social Change Through Individual Action."

A third program, "SEAD III," is scheduled to begin in 2003, and will attempt to help prepare students for the college application process, as well as helping them make the transition to university life.

For Kissling, who was a student math teacher for SEAD last summer, the SEAD program "was a wonderful introduction to the world of education through a teacher's perspective.

"The program served as a valuable experience in my growth as a teacher and helped to prepare me for student teaching (through the Education Department) at Lebanon High School last fall."

Kissling is quick to point out that the benefits of the SEAD program extend to everyone who participates in any way, shape, or form.

"The greatest thing about SEAD," said Kissling, "is the way it impacts the lives of so many people ... What perhaps goes unseen is the great effect SEAD has on all of the Dartmouth students involved."