Summer vacation may have just begun, but thanks to Mayor Alvin Brown’s Learn2Earn program, a group of local high school students is focused on making their goals to further their education come true.
Located Jacksonville University’s , Learn2Earn is one of Mayor Brown’s education initiatives designed to raise the number of college graduates in Jacksonville by exposing youth to educational opportunities and providing hands-on exposure to college life for rising high school sophomores and juniors.
The week long program included addresses by Dr. William Crosby, acting chief academic officer at JU, Mayor Brown and Education Commissioner Dr. Annmarie Kent-Willette. Darnell Smith, North Florida Market President for Florida Blue, shared a inspiring story with the students about the challenges he faced as young undergraduate and the importance of perseverance.
In this year’s class, more than 80% of the students would be the first in their families to graduate from college. The program comes at no cost to students or taxpayers thanks to support from area corporate partners.
The students spent a week living like a college student on the historic Jacksonville University campus, attending seminars designed to assist them with skills such as financial aid, leadership development, public speaking, social media, writing, financial literacy needed to succeed in college. Throughout the month of June, they traveled around the state visiting other universities.
“This was a great opportunity to meet new people, learn more about colleges…and talk about the things it takes for me to actually accomplish my goal to go to college, and to make sure I do have a goal,” said Manasseh Lewis, a rising sophomore at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. She pointed to the college visits as her favorite part of the program. “I actually got to get the feel of the campus instead of looking at a website,” she said.