On April 5, Mercer University was one of seven stops during a Cobb County community group’s 2011 College Tour for middle and high school students.
STING, Inc., a nonprofit organization in conjunction with “We Thrive on the Drive”, led students from Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville, Hiram High School in Hiram, and McEachern High School in Powder Springs, on a tour of Georgia colleges during their spring break.
The tour, a first for the organization, was possible through donations from sponsors and a car wash organized by the students.
The schools were chosen to reflect different colleges and what they offer.
“We decided to find a mixture of leading private, public, HBCU’s and two-year colleges,” Geneva Vanderhorst, creator and Executive Director of STING, Inc., said.
Other colleges in the tour included Savannah State University, Georgia Southern University, Fort Valley State University, Gordon College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse and Spelman College.
During their visit at Mercer, the students toured the campus and ate lunch in the cafeteria. They also participated in the “Life Without Hope” program, hosted by the members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
The forum discussed changes in the HOPE scholarship and transitioned into the hosts offering advice for applying to college and personal advice for surviving through school.
There are several important things that students should know about going to college, Vanderhorst said. “They should know that they have to balance their lives and their time.”
Veronica Brinson, a defense attorney in Macon and Mercer undergraduate and law school alumni, also spoke to students during the forum about her job and answered questions about the nature of the law profession.
STING, Inc., founded in August 2009, stands for “Steering Triumphant Innovators of The Next Generation”. The organization, which is a part of the Austell Community Task Force (ACT) and the Cobb Alcohol Task Force (CAT), operates in the South Cobb area outside of Atlanta.
The organization’s mission is “to advance the intellectual and social conditions of teens through quality programs, and to equip participants to envision future possibilities, increase academic performance and empower them for success.”
STING, Inc. provides programs for students such as college fairs, Community Career Day, Global Youth Service Day, “Read to Succeed”, male mentoring and a plethora of other programs as part of its vision to “enhance teens’ abilities to live a productive and balanced lifestyle.”
Aliya McCoy, a junior at McEachern High School, said she enjoyed the tour.
“It informs me about the school and lets me know where they’re coming from,” she said.
Vanderhorst said the students were more familiar with Mercer’s Atlanta and Lithia Springs campuses but were impressed with the main campus and liked the size.
“I like Mercer. It has a homey feel and a nice atmosphere. It’s like a community and it feels like everyone is connected,” McCoy said. “I would consider coming here.”
Vanderhorst said she would definitely consider bringing students to Mercer for future tours.