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CollegeFirst celebrates summerAP Institute completion

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — More than 100 high school students from Birmingham City, Jefferson County, Hewitt-Trussville and Shelby County schools are celebrating the completion of CollegeFirst, a summer enrichment program designed to better prepare students for the challenge of college-level Advanced Placement courses in math, science and English.

Twenty-six college students from UAB, the University of Alabama, and Samford University, guided by an Advanced Placement instructor, led the high school students through three weeks of rigorous curriculum, including advanced math lessons, biology and chemistry labs, and in-depth analysis of literary passages. Students improved their content knowledge and skills in critical thinking and writing to increase their chances for success during the school year.

Hewitt-Trussville High School
photo courtesy of Trussville City Schools

Statewide, nearly 300 high school students from school systems in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Huntsville, as well as 80 college student mentors, participated in CollegeFirst.

“All high school students deserve an opportunity to succeed in rigorous, college-level experiences,” said Stephen Black, director of the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama. “This initiative recruits successful college students to serve as both tutors and mentors, helping increase the number of area high school students who will be ready not only to attend college, but to excel in college.”

High school students were selected through A+ College Ready, a statewide initiative that works to dramatically increase AP success in math, science and English. Participating students are enrolled in AP courses in an A+ College Ready program school.

“We were delighted to partner with Impact Alabama to bring this summer enrichment program to our students,” said Mary Boehm, president of A+ College Ready. “These weeks of tutoring and mentoring will be invaluable help to students – many of whom will be the first generation in their families to attend college.”

AP courses enable motivated students to take college-level classes taught by teachers in their local high schools. Research has shown that students passing AP exams are three times more likely to earn a college degree than students who do not pass.

Impact Alabama, a nonprofit housed at the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama, collaborates with colleges, universities, and communities throughout the state to develop and implement substantive service-learning projects designed to engage students in addressing human and community needs, and enhance their sense of social and civic responsibility.

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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