“Believe” was the word of the day for District 3 middle and high school students. Believe in your future, believe in yourself, believe in the power of education.
“The Believe in Greatness Summit is based on building a ‘yes, I can’ attitude about going to college”
The first-ever Believe in Greatness (BIG) Summit was held Saturday, March 3 at Converse College. It was a day organized and led by area college students to teach leadership and character development while reinforcing the role of higher education in creating your future.
“The Believe in Greatness Summit is based on building a ‘yes, I can’ attitude about going to college, while helping middle and high school students develop the character to have the foundation to be successful today and tomorrow,” said Ashley Page, who led the student planning committee. She is a Converse College junior.
“The BIG Summit offers something new and unique to Spartanburg, with a program planned and presented by college students specifically for their community,” added College Hub executive director and BIG adviser Carrie DuPre. “Adults can tell students all day long that they can be successful, but at the end of the day, having college students who were right where they were not too long ago will make the most impact.”
The day was organized like a college student’s day, with education sessions held in different classes across campus and a meal in the dining hall. College admissions representatives also were on hand for a mini college fair. Educational sessions included topics such as “Healthy Body, Healthy Minds,” “Goal Setting” and “Getting Involved on Your High School Campus and Broader Community.” High school students had the opportunity to interact with a panel of native Spartanburg residents, who decided to remain here after earning their college degrees. They answered questions covering the spectrum of college life, from picking the right school and talking to professors, to time management and balancing social pressures with academics.
“My favorite part of the day was the college graduate panel because they taught the importance of education and how it’s the key to a bright future,” said Jacob Powell, 15, a Broome High School student.
Panelist Laketa Jeter shared her story of being the first in her family to go to college, to then be followed by both parents and two siblings. “I wanted a change in my family,” she said. “If you have siblings, think about this: set an example for them.” Panelist Sarah Smith encouraged students to find their own path to college. She said that she was 21 years old before she entered college. “You really grow your first year in college, no matter how old you are,” she said.
Eating in a college dining hall with college students was a summit highlight, though other educational sessions and small group discussions also were popular. “I enjoyed learning about the different clubs and activities college students do because it seemed exciting and a great atmosphere and learning environment,” said Alexis Wilkins, 16, a Broome High School student. Toya Moon, 16, also from Broome, enjoyed the social media education session. “It was a big wake-up because some of the things I put on the Internet are not OK.”
The theme of believing in your own greatness and staying true to your goals continued throughout the day. “I learned “to never stop trying,” said Josh Morgan, 14, a student at Middle School of Pacolet.
Participants will have the opportunity to engage in follow-up social and community service activities with their college mentors to reinforce the peer-to-peer connections established at the summit.
BIG Summit organizers plan for future summits to rotate among area colleges and universities to highlight countywide efforts to increase higher education attainment. The event is sponsored by Converse College, College Hub, the Spartanburg County Foundation and Sodexo. Partner schools included Spartanburg Community College, Spartanburg Methodist College, University of South Carolina Upstate, Wofford College and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.
This article was written by Carrie DuPre, executive director of College Hub.