‘Community Captains’ program gives NNPS students glimpse into college life
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Christopher Newport University is helping high school students prepare for college through a unique early admission preparatory program.
It’s called “Community Captains” and recruits high school students from Newport News Public Schools.
Provost Dr. Dave Doughty says they came up with the idea from a similar medical school program for students at CNU.
“It’s just a great opportunity to set yourself up for college success and life success. I hope many of the students in the Newport News Public School Division will join the program,” he said.
The program, which will start its third cohort next year, recruits sophomores with at least a 3.4 GPA and looks to attract first-generation college students.
The program brings the high school students on campus to get a feel of what college life is like. It also provides mentorship and guidance on all things related to college such as academics, majors, and financial aid.
Doughty says they wanted to increase local enrollment to promote homegrown talent.
“The goal is they’ll fall in love with this place and want to come,” he said. “Once they graduate, studies show that students who graduate from a college in a geographical location will locate to that geographical location. We hope these students will bring their rich talent to our community and build up the companies and community in our region.
When the students begin their senior year, they are given acceptance letters from the school but they aren’t required to attend CNU.
“They’re really open to get the community itself into any university or college and offer the branch, if at the end of the day you do want to go there, they’ll have to door open for you,” said Warwick High School senior Christoper Mojica.
Mojica, who’s interested in political science, law, and business, says the work the school does for those in the program makes it attractive.
“Seeing CNU taking strides to become more involved in the community, branching out to students that wouldn’t traditionally go to that school, it does add into why someone would want to go to the school,” he said.
Heritage High School senior Cameron Rockingham agreed.
“I appreciate how they took the time out of their day to experience all that will be very beneficial to our future,” he said.
Rockingham wants to get into cyber security and says the program has shown him that CNU is a great in-state school to attend.
While the school might not have been on the map for him before the program, it was for Tylicia Fields, who’s a senior at Acheivable Dream High School.
She’s wanted to go to the school since middle school.
“It expanded the horizon to see what college life is like, what classes are like, the average day for college students,” she said. “It made me realize CNU is a good school and I got to learn more about what the school is actually about.”
Although the students are now learning virtually, they’re still making the best of it.
Doughty says the next cohort will begin in the spring.
The program is free and says that those who chose to attend CNU, who are eligible for Pell Grants, will have low tuition costs as well as their meal plan taken care of. He says they’re also raising funds to make sure students who want to live on campus can do so.
“Christopher Newport has become a fabulous university. We’re one of the highest-ranked regional public schools in the south,” he said. “For students to have the opportunity to come to CNU at very minimal costs, get the kind of education our faculty provides to our students, graduate with minimal or no debt, then make positive contributions to the community, it’s like a win-win all around. That’s what I love about the program,” he said.