Mineville Students Visit North Country Community College
Students in the special education program gazed at the expansive campus of North Country Community College. They explored the campus, moving from building to building. For most, it was their first time ever being on a college campus.
“The benefit of bringing the students on a college visit was opening the door to the possibilities for after graduation,” Mineville’s Principal Dr. Grace Stay said. “For most of these students, college wasn’t an idea on the table, but it’s an option they should be thinking about.”
The idea started when students expressed interest in going to college. The teachers started to look into making a visit happen. NCCC hosted a college fair, so students were exposed to many different options.
“They had schools from all over the state that had booths and handing out merch,” Teacher Jordan Wendling said. “Our kids ate that up. We had one student who collected about 20 pens.”
Some students didn’t know what they wanted to do. Wendling helped them grab pamphlets with the school’s majors, and they narrowed it down to their interests. He encouraged the students to ask the tables about the programs and college.
After the fair, the students were given a tour of the campus. They saw all the facilities and residence halls. The tour guide explained when they could utilize facilities like the gym, cafeteria or a room with a pool table. Teacher Jean Gonyo said they were “super excited” to learn about the other activities on campus besides classes. It was an immersive experience.
“We visited a couple classes that invited us in while they were teaching,” Gonyo said. “The kids got to see an X-ray, and they explained what was going on in the X-ray. The kids thought that was really neat.”
The trip served as an eye-opening opportunity for the students — that they have the option of college after high school. So far, two students have applied to NCCC, and one was accepted.
Damian, a senior who attended the trip, wants to study either business or psychology after high school. He has to start the application process, but learned more about college life from the visit.
“After the fair, we visited different parts of campus, and the college felt really welcoming,” Damian said. “The housing and cafeteria areas were nice, and they had cool games like a pool table.”
College visits can be eye-opening to the possibility of higher education, which was something that students didn’t know was an option. The benefit of actually touring the campus was seeing how walkable it is. They were able to actually walk and see the distance from the classrooms to the residence hall.
“They don’t think they have the ability or knowledge to go to college, and by visiting and seeing what actually takes place, it gives them confidence to say, ‘I can do this,’” Gonyo said. “North Country, especially, has really small classes, and that’s what they are used to here. They had no idea that it existed, nor did the parents.”
Matt, a freshman who attended the trip, said he’s interested in attending college. He enjoyed walking into the classrooms and seeing the different buildings on campus. Matt and Damian said the campus was walkable, and there were plenty of spots to enjoy the outdoors.
The teachers and principal hope to continue broadening students’ horizons by bringing them on annual or bi-annual college trips. They want to open up the trip to different college campuses too. Beyond trips, the teachers want to offer college classes through NCCC in Mineville’s classrooms, so students will have credit before entering college.