The Creek to College Program, funded by the Friends of Long Creek, has been growing again steadily this year, after our numbers went down during covid (from 13 students in the fall of 2019 to five a year later). Many of our students had been sent home or to placements during this time, and we had to conduct some of our classes through Zoom, as the units could not all be in the same space together, and a couple of students were continuing to take classes from home, remotely via Zoom and Google Classroom.
This summer, eight Long Creek students were enrolled in Southern Maine Community College courses, three of whom were earning dual credit toward their high school graduation. Cultural Anthropology–with Professor Laurie Notch, who has been teaching in the Creek to College Program for nine years–was a popular course. All six students enrolled ended the semester with an A. Professor Notch was particularly impressed with the quality of their research papers, with topics ranging from “The Rwandan Genocide through an Anthropological Lens” to “The Anthropology of Microplastics.” Creek to College also offered Academic Success Seminar (ACSS) this summer, which is often an entry point for students who are interested in taking college classes while at Long Creek. The four students who took ACSS focused on learning the skills necessary for college success, such as time management, textbook reading, memorization techniques, note-taking, communication, presentation, and test-taking skills, as well as exploring careers and career pathways. Two students took Poetry with Nicole Chaison, who runs the Creek to College Program and teaches all of the English courses. In addition, one student was funded by the Friends to take Introduction to Business online.
Fall semester, which runs through the second week in December, is robust, with eight students enrolled in courses such as Oral Communications, Personal Finance, and ACSS. One of our students matriculated at SMCC this fall, in the liberal studies program with a focus on music, and the Friends are funding his online classes needed for the degree. The student has already earned more than half of the credits needed for his associate’s degree. Several of our students are considering careers and thinking about different career paths; the top five include culinary arts, environmental studies, web design, psychology, and small business.
We visited the SMCC campus in October, with a couple of students who were eligible to go on off-grounds passes. We toured the campus and had lunch in the dining hall, which was generously paid for by the Friends. The students were very interested in the culinary program, so we spent most of our time in that building. We then went for a walk on the beach, as it was a beautiful fall day. We’re hoping to take another group on tour soon, and ultimately, we would like to go three times a year, as a visit to SMCC is such a good way for our students to see that post-secondary education is attainable. On our visits, the students notice that they look just like the other students on campus. It normalizes the college experience for them and makes it real, rather than hypothetical or abstract.
In addition to everything else, the Friends also paid for our textbooks for Personal Finance this semester, as well as the textbooks for online classes for our matriculated student. Thank you, as always, Friends, for supporting us and keeping the Creek to College Program strong and successful!
Nicole Chaison, Creek to College Program Director, teaching an Oral Communications class.