The path to Florida A&M is different for everyone, or maybe it isn’t.
Just down the street from Florida A&M’s campus is FAMU DRS, the university’s Developmental Research School.
It was founded in 1887, the same year as the college, and was formerly known as Lucy Molten. It started as a teacher training school and in 1932, became a model school for FAMU.
The school has served grades K-12 since 1991, and because of its close ties with its owner, students at FAMU DRS tend to be influenced to want to attend FAMU.
“We all have a lot of Rattler pride but, we definitely push education in general. We make sure that each student is ready for the next level, and eventually making sure that they are college ready. Giving the exposure and having people from the university come and work with them is kind of a subconscious thing. We are putting it in front of them so that they see greatness and see that it is from FAMU,” said Genleah Swain, FAMU DRS Elementary School principal, who is also a FAMU alumna.
Because it is easy to access FAMU’s resources when attending DRS, many students tend to idolize the university. Students who are from Tallahassee, or surrounding counties, have been set up to begin school at DRS and eventually make their way to FAMU.
T’Niya Knight, a graduating senior at FAMU DRS and a Quincy native, said, “I’ve been at DRS since kindergarten. My grandmother graduated from FAMU and I want to be a part of one of the medical programs there. Since being at DRS all of my life, I feel like FAMU is the best school for me.”
Roger Walker, FAMU DRS Middle School principal, said it’s a natural progression to go on to the FAMU from FAMU DRS.
“Students come learning and knowing that the university and the school are greatly connected. We are our district and a part of FAMU’s College of Education. Our students are also able to dual enroll with FAMU and that opens up the pipeline straight to the university. The faculty teaching the students, those of us who have graduated from FAMU, are giving off a synergy and the culture that’s ingrained with the expectation that the students will move over to the university,” he said.
Of course not every student is persuaded to choose FAMU as their college destination, which DRS staff have said is perfectly fine. But because the school’s mascot is a Baby Rattler, they can only hope that the students continue to be successful and become adult Rattlers.