After a day trip to Marist College where 20 Lawrence eighth and ninth grade girls were introduced to an institution of higher learning, some of those young teens, along with other girls in fifth through 12th grades showered their moms with appreciation at the inaugural mother-daughter dinner on May 8.
Thursday’s activities began with a 6:45 a.m. bus ride to Poughkeepsie, where the girls took part in a group activity with peers from schools in New York City, received information on being prepared for college and campus life, had lunch, took a tour of Marist and participated in a group discussion.
“We want to plant a seed in the minds of the girls,” said Lawrence Middle School Assistant Principal Christine Moore about the opportunities available them. She was one of the faculty members, along with eighth grade guidance counselor Linda Kelsch, high school counselor Karen Staller and district dance teacher Laila Sales who chaperoned the district-offered visit.
“It’s a lot of work and a lot more to college you can experience,” said eighth-grader Aaliyah Croft, who is interested in being on the cheer team and possibly studying business and/or fashion design when she gets to college.
Divided into groups, the girls had to determine the admissions of four students. They were given information such as grade point average, SAT scores and activities about the candidates. It turned out the groups accepted two students, waitlisted one and rejected one. “You have to prepare today for college and do a lot of activities and learn different things,” said eighth-grader Jessica Fuller, who does cheer.
We Care, a newly established group, sponsored the pre-Mother’s Day soiree at the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence. Annie Reyes, one of the founders, said the group’s focus is children. “It does take a village to raise a child,” the Lawrence resident said. Reyes said, the group is planning several events for next school year and will be buoyed by a newly created leadership class in the middle school.
Prior to dinner, the girls presented their mothers (some grandmothers and aunts) with presents and said a few words about how much that person means to them. “I do love her,” high school freshman and cheer captain Ciera Best said about her mother. “I couldn’t ask for a better mom than her.” Best was impressed by Marist’s cafeteria and is interested in studying abroad during her college years.
From Croft’s perspective, it is important to honor her mother “because you don’t get another mom.” “They try to make us better, see what we did wrong and how we can learn from it,” she said.
Grace McBride, mother to high school junior Bernice King, said she has passed on this advice to her daughter. “To follow her dreams, follow her heart,” McBride said.