Campus News Georgia Impact

UGA students build bridges with students during welcome visits to two Athens-area high schools

UGA high school welcome 2017-h
More than 60 UGA students traveled to Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central high schools Friday morning to welcome incoming students as they start their new year. Photo credit: Dorothy Kozlowski

More than 60 University of Georgia students traveled to Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central high schools Aug. 11 to welcome incoming students as they started their new year.

“This event is like a miniature pep rally for these high school students,” said Arthur Tripp, assistant to the president. “We want our Athens-Clarke County students to know that UGA is a part of their community, and we want to encourage and excite them about the upcoming academic year.”
Cultivating strong community relationships is a priority for UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

“I am pleased that we are continuing to develop strong partnerships with UGA and the Athens community that will strengthen our vital relationship,” he said.

This is the second year for the event, which is organized by the Office of the President, the Office of Service-Learning and student leaders from across campus. “This is a tri-fold partnership that began with an idea from our students,” Tripp said. The goal is to connect UGA with local high school students so they can begin to see the University of Georgia as a future destination.

“It’s important for these kids to see college students from different backgrounds and realize that they can get here. They can do it, too,” said Taylor Tucker, a second-year student studying international business and marketing.

DeAnne Varitek, principal of Cedar Shoals High School, hopes her students see UGA as a viable option after graduation.

“We would love to increase the number of students who attend UGA,” she said. “Our students may not go to campus often, and this event brings campus to us. Any time we can bring UGA to the minds of our students, it brings them one step closer to attending UGA, and one step closer to earning a college education.”

Rashaad Pierre, a fifth-year student majoring in communication studies, was one of the students who helped bring this idea to fruition last year.

“We want these students to know that we are a resource to them,” he said. “This event helps me see that I’m more than a UGA student. I’m part of a community, and I want to be an active part while I’m here in Athens.”

Pierre hopes this program will create a culture of partnership between UGA and the community that lasts beyond his time in Athens.

“In the future, I want this event to be embraced by the community and to become a tradition,” he said. “I want these communities to come together for our future leaders.”