High schoolers get a taste of college life

Sophomores from Montevallo High School got a taste of the college life Thursday when they visited the University of Montevallo for Future Falcon Day.

Sponsored by Montevallo Connection, an organization that aims to bridge the gap between UM and Montevallo public schools, Future Falcon Day is designed to inspire youth to pursue higher education, said director Hollie Cost.

The university hosted Montevallo fifth-graders and eighth-graders at separate Future Falcon Days in April.

“Some of these students have never been on campus because they’re intimidated by the gates, but we want them to know the gates are always open,” Cost said, adding the event also strengthens partnerships between university faculty and school faculty.

Future Falcon Day kicked off inside LeBaron Recital Hall, where the high schoolers participated in a whole group music activity led by music professor Jody Landers. They then ventured outside for a small group scavenger hunt coordinated by UM faculty and students.

Sarah Jacobson, a junior elementary education major, offered the girls some sound advice during the hunt. “Don’t wear heels on campus,” she said. “You’ll get stuck in the bricks.”

UM students also offered the high schoolers historical tales and tidbits about the university, some of which were news to Jacobson and her peers.

“I didn’t know the main portion of campus was designed by the same people who designed Central Park in New York City,” Jacobson said. “I had a lot of fun showing them around campus, finding out what their interests are and getting to know them.”

Following the hunt, the students split into small groups to take part in condensed versions of freshman-level courses. English professor Kathy King led one of the groups in a poetry analysis of Seamus Heaney’s “Death of a Naturalist,” a piece about a young boy collecting frogspawn from a flax-dam.

The poem, which King assigns to students in her English 102 class, garnered mixed reviews from the high schoolers.

“I didn’t understand it,” one student lamented.

“I liked it,” said another student. “I like frogs.”

A half-hour later, the high schoolers were off to another class in true college style.