LEAPing into college life

By By Edgar Zuniga Jr.

By Edgar Zuniga Jr.

Members of the U’s LEAP program want potential U students to have a real glimpse of college life — even if they are several years early.

Students from the Learning Engagement Achievement Progress program took about 100 English as a Second Language students from Northwest Middle School on a campus tour as part of the third annual See You at the U event last Thursday. The high school students bowled in the Union, ate lunch at the Heritage Center and took shuttle rides around campus.

Kristin Yoshimura, a sophomore in mechanical engineering and peer adviser in the LEAP program, said the event is important because it inspires students from immigrant families or students who “are refugees or immigrants themselves (to) go to college one day.” LEAP is a program that helps incoming freshmen adapt to college life.

The students began their day with a visit to the Utah Museum of Natural History.

Afterward, the students split into different groups to explore biology, physical therapy and dance, among other disciplines.

“The kids have lots of energy and everyone said they’ve had fun,” said Suzanne Schmidt, a sophomore in art and LEAP peer adviser. “We learned about poisonous snails in one of the conferences. It’s been really interesting and successful.”

The event was also meant to be entertaining. The middle school students watched a small dance performance and learned some dance moves.

“(The event is) important because they see how college life is and they need motivation so they’ll study hard,” said Yaquelin Lopez, a junior in behavioral science, who works at Northwest Middle School in Rose Park.

As part of the outreach effort, LEAP peer advisers will visit the middle school with a guest speaker next semester to further motivate students toward college. Peer advisers will also meet with West High School students next semester.

“It is a fantastic trip. The kids look forward to it. It’s a tradition for the ESL students,” said Isabel Kiss, an ESL Science teacher at Northwest Middle School. “It’s a way to help students discover their vocation.”

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