WINSLOW — More than 500 Winslow High School students are looking at the future from a slightly new perspective. On Nov. 6, students took part in a school-wide college tour that shuttled the entire student body, freshman through seniors, across the state for a glimpse of life on a college campus. The tour is the result of a partnership between the school, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and the MELMAC Education Foundation, a partnership aimed at increasing the aspirations of students to pursue college and other post-secondary education options.

Chad Bell, principal of Winslow High School said in a news release from the school, “This was an important opportunity for these students. It was a chance to get everyone, not just the older students, thinking about college as an option, And, if not college, then what? We want everyone to be aware of the importance of post-secondary education and training. Learning shouldn’t end with a high school diploma,” according to a news release from JMG.

Before heading out for the day, students heard from Laurie Lachance, president of Thomas College in Waterville. Lachance, herself, was a “first-generation student from humble roots” and is a relentless advocate for higher education. She said, “This is an important day for all of you. More and more jobs these days require a college degree. It’s alright if you don’t know where you want to go, or whether you want to go to college at all. But, I would encourage you to keep an open mind. Ask questions. And consider how a college education might bring you closer to the life you want,” in the release.

The day began with freshmen boarding buses headed to Thomas College in Waterville and the University of Maine at Augusta, while sophomores made a beeline to the University of Maine at Orono. Juniors and seniors were free agents for the day and got to choose their visits from a list of schools including Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Unity College, Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, as well as Husson University and Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.

Brandon Davis, a sophomore JMG student at Winslow toured the University of Maine campus at Orono. He said he wants to be a civil engineer, but isn’t sure where he’ll study. “Today gave me a chance to spend some time on campus, and like President Lachance said, to ‘try it on’ and see if it fits me. It was a great chance me and all of my friends to start thinking about life after high school,” said Davis in the release.

JMG is a statewide, private nonprofit working with students who face barriers to education. JMG provides 5,000 students a year with the skills and experience they will need to succeed in high school, post secondary education, and careers. JMG graduates become engaging members of their communities, productive adults in the workforce, and contributors to Maine’s economy.

The MELMAC Education Foundation is committed to supporting high quality initiatives that serve the purpose of increasing educational opportunities for Maine people. The Foundation believes that Maine people and the State of Maine will thrive in the new economy by providing access to the appropriate education, skills and training at all levels.

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