Monday, August 1, 2011

College Tour in Tallahassee, Florida

On July 24th 2011 twenty-seven Dreamers left Miami, Florida at 10:30AM and embarked on an eight-hour bus ride to Tallahassee, our state’s capital, on an enormous blue coach bus. The purpose of the trip was to visit two universities (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Florida State University) and the Old and New Florida Capitol buildings.
Having to sit for eight hours isn’t the most pleasing thing in the world, but the bus ride to Tallahassee was very fun. It was like a huge slumber party!! We all had our pillows, P-Jays, and blankets. Whether we slept, watched endless amounts of DVDs, or listened to music, there was never a dull a moment!! For most of the Dreamers, this was their first time going to the state’s capital. Therefore, the constant greenery, hills, and brick buildings were a nice contrast to what is normally seen in Miami. We finally reached Tallahassee at 6:30PM and our first night there was spent eating dinner at Applebee’s and spending FOREVER in the indoor swimming pools at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel.
Our Monday morning started with a tour of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) campus, the home of the infamous Rattlesnakes and the Marching 100 marching band. After a very informative session with an Admissions representative, which the Dreamers took copious notes, the FAMU tour began! We saw the football arena, the bookstore, residential, chemistry and the performing arts buildings. Members of a fraternity were also kind enough to perform for us!! Our tour guide, Brandon, ended the tour with an interesting history fact: FAMU was built on the Duval property, a prominent slave plantation.
Our next stop was Florida State University (FSU). We were amazed at the size of FAMU, but FSU was ENORMOUS!! According to our guide, Jacqueline, the university was built with over 15 million bricks and started as women’s college. Similar to the admissions’ session at FAMU, the Dreamers also learned about the minimum requirements for admission into FSU. Many of the Dreamers were also happy to know that double majoring is an option for them if they decided to attend FSU. Overall, most of the Dreamers seemed to favor FSU over FAMU, but FAMU was more appealing to the students who wanted to major in fields associated with engineering, while those interested in law and the performing arts wished to attend FSU. Whichever they decide, the Dreamers will do GREAT!
The trip to Tallahassee ended on Tuesday after our visit to the Old and New Florida Capitol buildings. This is the building were Florida senators and representatives come to make decisions that affect the entire state. The Dreamers actually sat in the rooms where the senators and representatives meet to deliberate! We then traveled to the 22nd floor where we had a beautiful view of the entire downtown Tallahassee area. Like the day prior, again we learned an interesting fact: the capitol building is the tallest building in Tallahassee!
The college tour was awesome! Although none of the Dreamers were ready for it to end, they left Tallahassee with a clearer idea of the possibilities offered to them in higher education.
Group picture before we begin the college tour

Hearing from a FAMU representative the requirements for admissions into the university

Walking across FAMU's campus

Fact of the Day: FSU was built with over 15 million bricks!!

Sitting on the steps of the Old Capitol building...the tallest building in Tallahassee!

2011 Summer Academy

For 21 days (June 23-July 21), the Dreamers spent part of their summer in Summer Academy at Florida International University.  For the first part of each day, the Dreamers rotated between three academic courses: mathematics, language arts, and college prep. To make things more interesting, the Dreamers were split into three teams where competitions were held in each academic class. Opportunities for points were based on attendance, behavior, participation, and actual Team Competitions (such as Math Jeopardy, which was super fun!!)
The second part of each day was spent in an enrichment activity held either by the College of Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Law, or the Black Student Union. For the College of Engineering, the Dreamers spent the entire summer building bridges constructed simply from popsicle sticks and wood glue! The goal was to build a bridge that held at least 4 pounds, but the Dreamers exceeded this goal: one group of students, lead by Narquavia Brown, built a bridge that held 138 pounds!! One group had such great architectural design of their bridge and had the opportunity to present it to the Dean of the College of Engineering…AWESOME.
The Dreamers also engaged in exciting activities with the College of Nursing. They learned about athletic training; how to treat concussions and spinal cord injuries; and occupational and physical therapy. The Dreamers seemed to enjoy the simulation activities the most, where life size manikins served as patients. The manikins were computerized and Dreamers were able to feel the manikins’ pulse and test their blood pressure! The College of Law was also interesting especially for the Dreamers aspiring to be lawyers and judges. Learned the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony; and also learned the appropriate conditions under which police officers are able to stop, arrest, and question people. Most importantly, the Dreamers learned the steps necessary to get into a law school.
The Black Student Union (BSU) also had nice activities planned for the Dreamers. Dreamers played Who Wants To Be A Millionaire-BSU Edition and heard a poem recited by one the BSU members, which the Dreamers seemed to like a lot (the poet repeated her poem twice!). BSU members also lead important discussion topics such as bullying and decision-making. BSU ended their session with the Dreamers with a few “old school” childhood games: Heads Up 7 Seven Up and Four Corners!! Although teenagers now, the Dreamers enjoyed themselves!
Most teenagers want nothing to do with school during the summer, but the Dreamers were willing to attend Summer Academy anyway…they’re AWESOME!!!

Building bridges out of popsicle sticks and wood glue

Athletic Trainers taught us how to test for concussions

Simulation activities with the College of Nursing

Treating victims of spinal cord injuries

Mr. Lewis and a few Dreamers