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By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
More than 100 elementary school students got a glimpse of what it’s like to go to college when they visited Columbia International University on Feb. 28. They were from the Carolina School for Inquiry (CSI); a local public charter school located just a few miles from the CIU campus.
CIU College of Education Professor Linda Murdaugh says she was asked by a teacher at CSI if the entire K-6 school could tour CIU to give the students a vision for college.
“We were excited about the possibilities of involving not only our College of Education students as tour guides and student buddies, but also collaborating with other campus departments to cast this vision to help others see and understand a biblical university,” Murdaugh said.
CIU has had an ongoing partnership with CSI since 2009. CIU students in the Teacher Education program have observed CSI classes and served as student teachers. CIU students also visit CSI regularly to tutor students individually and to read aloud to classes.
CSI Head of School Victoria Dixon-Mokeba said the ultimate goal of the field trip was to encourage the children to work hard in school now, so they can pursue higher education when they are older.
“We are really excited,” Dixon-Mokeba said as the students began their visit. “Our students have been talking about going to college all week!”
As the young scholars crowded into Hoke Auditorium, they were met by College of Education faculty and students, who were eager to greet the students and share their college experiences.
“We believe each one of you can be successful in college,” CIU Provost James Lanpher told the CSI students. “We hope to see you back in five, six, ten years as students in these very seats.”
CSI students were then split into groups by their grade level, and each group was led by CIU students who served as tour guides. Other College of Education students put on a puppet show and read books for the younger children, while older students took an extended tour of the campus.
“What I enjoyed most about being a tour guide was the opportunity to build relationships and talk to the kids,” sophomore Alysa Butler said. “I think they are looking forward to their future.”
As a final activity, CSI students then went to Moore Fitness Center for fun and games with CIU’s athletic teams. The student-athletes led the children in cheers, and even brought a few older children onto the gym floor for brief soccer and basketball games.
As the day concluded, Dixon-Mokeba took the opportunity to express her appreciation to CIU.
“This has been an incredible opportunity for our students, staff, and parents,” she said. “Every minute since we set foot on this campus has been excellent. Words aren’t enough to say thank you.”
See photos of CSI's day at CIU on the CIU Flickr page: