|Whitney M. Young Scholars prepare for success
RELEASED: June 16, 2005
DANVILLE, KYWouldn't it be nice to give college a test drive before you graduate from high school? That's exactly what the Whitney M. Young Scholars are doing over the next two weeks as they participate in the fourth annual Summer Institute on the Centre College campus. The rising high school juniors from Louisville are attending classes, living in the dorms and participating in a variety of social and educational activities.
It's all part of the Whitney M. Young Scholars program, which was created by the Lincoln Foundation of Louisville to recruit academically talented, economically disadvantaged seventh-graders and provide them with educational enrichment to prepare them for high school and, eventually, college.
This week the scholars had a physics lesson from Mark Mojesky, a physics and chemistry teacher from Danville High School. Mojesky, in his fourth year working with the summer program, led the students in a hands-on demonstration of Hero's Engine as part of a rocketry course.
In one of science's most famous experiments, Hero, an ancient Greek known for both the engine and fountain bearing his name, heated water contained within a closed sphere to generate propulsion.
The steam escaped through two attached opposing pipes, spinning the sphere.
Mojesky asked the students to identify the simple principle of physics behind the propulsion. Several voices responded with Newton's Third Law of Mechanics, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Lawn sprinklers are one modern example of Hero's engine at work.
Mojesky made some modifications to Hero's experiment. Unlike Hero, the students did not heat water to boiling. Instead, they constructed engines from an empty aluminum can, nails, string and water. Gravity, not heat, forced the water through the holes in the cans. Mojesky had the students predict the can rotation based on the holes placed in the can, allowing them to individually explore the principles and dynamics of propulsion.
Laughing when questioned about the experiment, Jade Lynn, 16, of Louisville Male High School, says, "Students should get to use the Bunsen burners, but the experiment is really cool."
Cool experiments are not the only methods of learning the students will practice during their two weeks on campus. "I like the programit's fun," Lynn says, "It exposes you to new things. I know it's going to help me out in the future."
Many students are enjoying their first taste of college life. Chris Lee, 16, of Butler Traditional High School, says his favorite aspect of the program thus far is "the freedom from home. I want to see how college life really isget used to it."
Lee says one of his goals was to make new friends. "I want to be able to learn from other people," he says.
As a result of the program, students are already looking ahead to life after high school. Many hope to develop the necessary skills to prepare them for a life away at college. "I hope to live on my own and make it through college," says Whitney Whitehead, 16, of Southern High School.
Andre Perry, 16, of Pleasure Ridge Park High School, says that after going through this program he expects, "to be something in life."
DeShawn Collett, a 2005 Centre graduate and former Whitney M. Young program participant, is working with the scholars during their two-week stay as a resident assistant. Collett, a chemistry major, credits the program with helping give him the drive to always seek out new educational opportunities.
"I think it's benefiting me now," Collett says, "This program lets me see that no matter how you start out, you can always finish strong."
Collett cites his own experience as motivation for his continued relationship with the students and the program. Having participated in the program himself, he understands the importance of perseverance and acquiring personal goals.
"I want them to come away with the idea that it doesn't matter what is holding you backit doesn't have to," Collett says, "I want them to always look forward to bettering themselves, but I want them prepared to recover if something happens.
"For every person holding you back, there are 20 who are encouraging you to succeed. You have to recognize that."
Now that Collett has graduated, he hopes to continue his education and become a chiropractor. He says that while he may have successfully completed the program and college, it makes him want to keep pursuing an education and developing his life.
"I may have succeeded [in graduating] but there's more, a lot more," he says.
Senior Nathan French contributed to this report.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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