The University of Louisville has received a federal grant to help disadvantaged students prepare for college. U of L’s Talent Search program targets middle and high school students and provides them with academic and personal counseling. Roy Sutton is a counselor who plans on working with students from Western Middle School. He’s also a graduate of U of L’s Upward Bound program, which is similar to the new initiative. But with the Talent Search program, counselors will work in the schools to help students recognize that college is an option.
“You just gain a sense of can do, you surround yourself with other peers that want the common denominator that you want—to go to college and want to do well in life. And so being a product of the program I know first and that is achievable through this program,” said Sutton.
Sutton is one of two counselors who will work with around 500 students, and in some cases acts as a father figure, he said. The Talent Search program is unique in that counselors work in the schools they serve. This allows counselors like Sutton to form relationships, he said.
“You’re letting them know that because, oh yea college does cost a lot of money, that’s not the end of the story. There’s plenty of ways to go to college and of course graduate and the number one way to start is we’re going to get some confidence and make sure we’re turning in our homework and class work and making As and Bs,” Sutton said.
The five-year $1 million grant will serve six Jefferson County public schools, including Central, Fern Creek, Moore and Shawnee high schools, and Moore and Western middle schools.
Principals will help U of L target students who could benefit from the program.