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College road trips a vehicle to change for some middle school students

DANBURY – A college road trip for eighth graders? An Ansonia Middle School teacher thinks trips like these are essential to opening the doors to a future full o...

DANBURY – A college road trip for eighth graders?

An Ansonia Middle School teacher thinks trips like these are essential to opening the doors to a future full of possibilities for students, especially those from low income homes and urban families, among whom college has never been part of the conversation.

Jessica Bedosky, an eighth grade math teacher at Ansonia Middle School who was the first in her family to earn a college degree, and her husband, John, have founded College Access for All Kids, Inc., which is a non-profit that allows kids to learn and dream about life beyond high school.

“When you talk about this abstract college experience, they see it as a limbo place and they don't get how tangible it is,” said Bedosky, who Wednesday morning bused a group of several dozen eighth graders to the campus of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury for a tour and question and answer session with university staff.

“I can't wait to see their faces when we walk into different areas and see through their lens and see their expressions, their excitement, their questions,” said Yvette Bailey, another Ansonia Middle School teacher, who accompanied the students and is a first generation college graduate.

Roughly half of the eighth graders, who made the trip come from families where a college degree is only something they've heard about.

“My goal is not really to set an example,” said Ludmia Joseph, an eighth grader who couldn't wait to get to campus this morning. “ It's to just be successful in life and to be happy. On the other hand, if I do set an example, that would be good. That would be quite beneficial  to me an future generations.”

Bedoosky says her goal in the future is to make at least three campus visits a year with her eighth graders – one each to public, private and community colleges.  But, at a cost of $1,500 per trip, a grant won't cover the entire fee, and fundraising is essential.

If you are considering financial support and wish to learn more about College Access for All Kids, Inc., please click here.

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