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University of the Cumberlands Mentoring Program receives gift from AT&T


University of the Cumberlands receives $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation. Pictured left to right: Lans Lay, director, Whitley County Middle School Youth Service Center; Alan Sweet, principal, Whitley County High School; Paula Trickett, deputy superintendent, Whitley County School District; David McFaddin, regional director for External and Legislative Affairs, AT & T; Kentucky District State Representative DeWayne Bunch; Dr. Michael Colegrove, vice president for Student Services, UC; and Debbie Harp, director of Career Services, UC.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. —The AT&T Foundation recently awarded the Mentoring Program of University of the Cumberlands a $25,000.00 grant to implement a series of college and career workshops during 2011 called SUCCESS, Students Using the Community & Career Education to Secure Success. The first workshops were held on Wednesday, March 9, immediately following a kick-off celebration for the program.

The Mentoring Program is a partnership between University of the Cumberlands and Whitley County School District that provides enrichment opportunities for students in grades seven through nine.


Middle and high school participants in Cumberlands Mentoring Program in the boardroom of the Kentucky Consular Center, where they learned about workplace culture. Left to Right:Standing: Nicole Lee, Whitney Shelton, Audrey Brown, Zach Newman, Tanner Pomraning, Shawn Carroll, and Nathaniel Walters. Front row sitting: Connor Campbell, Savannah Pena, Dani Campbell, and Lesa Hamblin.

The kick-off began with a brunch reception in the Atrium of Cumberlands’ T.J. Roberts Dining Hall, at which David McFaddin, AT&T’s regional director for External and Legislative Affairs and others spoke to the program participants, Whitley County School District administrators and University administrators present. McFaddin told the group that AT&T’s number one priority is Main Street and that the company is pleased to help community programs like the mentoring partnership between Cumberlands and Whitley County Schools. “Education is the key to all your futures,” he reminded the students.

Among others who spoke were Kentucky State Representative DeWayne Bunch, who also teaches at WCHS; Lans Lay, WCMS’s Youth Service Center director, who is co-director of the program with Debbie Harp, Cumberlands’ coordinator of Career Services and director of Leadership/Community Service; Paula Trickett, deputy superintendent of Whitley County School District; and Dr. Michael Colegrove, Cumberlands’ vice president for Student Services.

One speaker, Jeffrey Barnett, a sophomore at Cumberlands, is not only a former mentee of the program but is now a mentor as well. “The trips we took with the Mentoring Program gave me the opportunity to talk about going to cool places when other students told about their family vacations,” said Barnett. “The transition from middle school to high school can be rough, but the Mentoring Program was a big help. Barnett also said that the Mentoring Program is like a family. “The best part was my mentor. We still keep in touch.” Of his new responsibilities as a mentor, he said, “I’ve discovered that mentees are not the only ones who learn in the program.”

The new Success component of the Mentoring Program is designed to help prepare participating middle school students for success in school, post-secondary studies, careers and wherever their goals take them. After the kick-off celebration the students participated in a variety of workshops as a part of SUCCESS.

Following a visit to the Kentucky Consular Center, where Todd Anderson of Serco spoke to them about workplace culture and some of the things they can expect, the students attended an etiquette luncheon at Cumberland Inn. Terri Thompson of Etiquette in Action guided the students through the intricacies of a business luncheon and stressed the importance of good manners. In the afternoon, sessions on setting goals, applying for college, financial aid and campus tours were interspersed with discussions with current mentors and a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test.

Since 1994, University of the Cumberlands and Whitley County Schools have collaborated on the Mentoring Program, which pairs academically capable, middle and high school students who have other issues that may prevent success with a volunteer college mentor. Each mentor is expected to spend time with his/her mentee at least twice each month, with phone calls and email contact between visits. The pair might see a movie, share a meal, attend an event on campus or just hang out together. Additionally, a large group activity, usually a trip, is arranged at least twice a year.

The next scheduled event for the SUCCESS component of the Mentoring Program is the Career Fair on campus March 30, where the mentees, along with not only their mentors but also all Cumberlands students, will have the opportunity to explore possible career choices.