They are graduates of a semester-long program called Blueprints College Access Initiative. The students met weekly with UAB students to learn all about college, from financial aid to student life.
Today, many have their sights set on pursuing higher education and several will be the first to go in their families.
One by one, the names are called and the students cheer, and even yell out, “You go girl!”
Among them are 14-year-old friends Nicholas and Charles Jackson. They didn’t know much about college until participating in the program, they say.
Nicholas says he learned about the costs and ways to pay for college and now sees it as an option. He proudly announces that he wants to study sports medicine one day. Charles wants to come to UAB and study mechanical engineering.
That’s exactly the response UAB graduate student Briauna Knott was hoping for.
Knott, a secondary education major, signed up to be a mentor because she wants to inspire kids who come from a similar high school to the one she attended in Lisman, Ala. She especially tries to expose the students to career options they would have never dreamed of so that they can match their passions with a job, she says.
“It’s important to show them that someone is there to take an interest in them,” she says. “I want to be a role model and let them know college is an option.”
Kettriona Lancaster, 14, says she learned a lot from the experience and plans to go to law school. “Before this, I only knew a little about college,” she says. “I definitely plan to go. I want to show my mom that I can do better than she did.”
Briauna Knott, in the center wearing green, stands with her Blueprints mentees. The students all plan to attend college after high school.