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Eudora Kean Students Need $80,000 for College Tour

Feb. 12, 2007 — The guidance counselor at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School has big plans for 40 of her students: a trip to 10 colleges between New York City and Washington, D.C.
There's only one wrinkle in the plan: "We need to raise $80,000," said Monique Matthias. She wants her students to set their college sights high, and she planned the trip to expose them to schools they may not know about.
With the trip scheduled for March 30 to April 7, she's running short of time. Even though the students are busy raising money, and Matthias expects some help from corporate sponsor Marriott, they'll still need help from the community, she said.
"The future of the Virgin Islands depends on an educated population," Matthias said.
The trip will give the students an opportunity to tour campuses and meet with counselors. Vanessa Tamar, 17, is going.
"It's a good opportunity to see if a specific college is good for me," she said.
J'Nay Penn, 15, also plans to go. She's looking forward to seeing the college campuses and learning what college life is all about.
"And it's good to see what colleges are available to us," she said.
Many of the students will be the first in their families to attend college, Matthias said. Most are juniors, with a smattering of sophomores and seniors.
Many public high school students don't realize they can get into colleges like Columbia in Manhattan, which is Matthias' alma mater, she said, noting that scholarships are available to help defray college costs.
Only a few schools visit the Virgin Islands to recruit students, so the students and their families don't know anything about them, Matthias said. Often students pick schools in Atlanta and Florida because that's all they've heard about, she said.
On the tour list are Columbia University, New York University, Temple University, Rutgers University, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University and the University of Maryland.
The trip will also expose students to places the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the theater in New York, Matthias said.
The counselor said she opened the college-campus tour to good students, as well as those who are not at the top of the class, because the underachievers often need extra help.
"I want to give everybody a fair chance," she said.
To help the students on their tour of college campuses, send a check to the Guidance and Counseling Department at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. The address is 6501 Red Hook Plaza, Suite 3, St. Thomas, V.I. 00802. Call Matthias at 775-6380, ext. 2109, for more information.
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