SUNY Buffalo State and Congressman Brian Higgins, ’85, will honor the academic achievements of local high school students participating in Buffalo State’s Challenge program at a luncheon on campus Monday, June 30.
The Challenge program targets students who may not see attending college as a realistic goal and starts them on the road to a college experience through mentoring relationships, community service and leadership development, and academic support services provided by Buffalo State’s pre-collegiate programs.
The initiative, which began in 2010, serves a total of 125 students at two local high schools—McKinley High School and Oracle Charter School. This year marks the first graduating cohorts in the program: one from McKinley and one from Oracle. Of the 60 students graduating from the program this spring, 15 have already been accepted to Buffalo State for fall 2014. Another 10 students have completed intent to enroll forms and will take advantage of a dual admissions agreement between Buffalo State and Erie Community College—once these students complete their associate’s degree at ECC, the students will seamlessly transfer to Buffalo State to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
In addition to encouraging traditionally at-risk students to attend college, the Challenge program provides high-achieving students guaranteed admission to Buffalo State and a four-year scholarship award for those who meet specific academic benchmarks by the time they graduate from high school.
To receive the $6,000 scholarship award (payable over four years), students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 85 or higher, and earn either a score of 1,000 or better on the critical reading and math sections of the SAT, or an ACT score of 21 or above.
Jenivette Garcia and The Myat Noe—both students from the McKinley cohort—are the first two recipients of the scholarship. Both will be honored Monday along with students from the 2015 and 2016 cohorts.
Kenneth Robinson, coordinator of the Buffalo State Challenge program, will open the program with brief remarks at 12:15 p.m. Following lunch, Carmela Thompson, director of undergraduate admissions, will welcome the attendees. Hal Payne, vice president of student affairs, will highlight Buffalo State’s pre-collegiate programs and then introduce Congressman Higgins, who will talk with the students about the importance of a college education, its affordability, and his experiences as at Buffalo State. An awards presentation will follow.