SHU Hosts Amistad Student Retreat

News Story: January 17, 2013

Sacred Heart University will host an overnight retreat for 15 college-bound seniors and their counselors on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 11-12. The students are all members of Amistad Academy in New Haven, a public charter school designed to close the “achievement gap” experienced by urban students and put them on the road to higher education and long-term success.

The Amistad students have been accepted at a number of prestigious institutions including St. John’s, Fordham and Howard universities and will all begin college life in the next few weeks. Their two-day conference at Sacred Heart will allow them to explore issues they will soon confront as freshmen including academic demands, and the budgeting of time and funds. Sacred Heart University students and senior administrators will help the participants explore their hopes, fears and expectations and will direct them to specific college resources to address their future needs.

An award-winning educational experience, Amistad Academy will complete its high school program next year by adding a senior year. This year’s seniors are alumni of the academy’s middle school programs who have attended local high schools. Almost exclusively African American or Hispanic, the students are admitted to the college prep program based on a blind lottery, and they have shown exceptional achievement over the years. Most are the first in their families to attend college, so this orientation to the demands of college will be especially valuable.

In addition to SHU students who will share personal stories of their own experiences in college, representatives of a number of Sacred Heart departments will be on hand to answer questions and help direct the program. Among these will be the Office of the President, Student Life, Academic Services, Residence Life, Campus Ministry, Financial Assistance, and Career Development. As the resources at each school will vary, the participants will explore common challenges of the freshman year and will determine who can best help the newcomers meet their needs.