FAMU mentors show students the ropes

The Big Bend Area Club, which is an organization comprised of students from Tallahassee, brought 15 local high school students to campus as a part of its Shadow Explosion Program.

During Homecoming, students were given the opportunity to follow members of the club as they went about their everyday lives.

As participants in the Shadow Explosion Program, students were given tours of the campus. They also went to classes with members of the Big Bend Area Club, participated in the homecoming parade and went to convocation. and a host of other homecoming events.

The students were also given tickets to the comedy show and the football game.

At the end of the program, the students were taken to the admissions office to get applications and scholarship information.

The club decided to hold the program during homecoming week as a way to introduce the high school students to student life at Florida A&M University.

“There is no school like ours,” said Gallop Franklin, 20, the group’s executive consultant. “We have the number one student body in the country and we wanted to give the students a chance to experience it.”

Letters explaining what the club is about and what they hope to accomplish, were sent to all the high schools in the surrounding area. Guidance counselors at each school told their students about the program and encouraged them to participate.

Although most of the students came from Florida High School, other high schools such as Rickard’s, Godby and Leon participated.

In order to get approved for the program, a student must be a high school senior with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. The student must also be in good standing with their prospective schools.

Lisa Sampson, 17, a senior at Florida High School, was a participant in the Shadow Explosion Program. While at FAMU, she shadowed Franklin.

“I wanted to go to FAMU for pharmacy so I thought it would be a good idea to shadow someone and get a feel for the campus,” Sampson said.

Sampson said if she had the opportunity to shadow Franklin again, she would do it.

“My experience was very good…I loved it,” Sampson said. “I’m really excited about going to FAMU.”

The Big Bend Area Club was founded in 2003 by Ramon Alexander, a former student, and Larry Rivers, a professor of history. It was created as way to get students, from the Tallahassee area, involved on campus.

“The downfall of most local students is that they do not stay on campus,” Dominick Ard’is, 20, the club’s president said. “Because of that, most of these students do not know what’s going on around campus and they are not involved.”

After the club failed to prosper under Alexander and Rivers, Ard’is and Franklin worked to reestablish it this year. The Shadow Explosion Program is the first project of the newly reactivated club.

In the future, The Big Bend Area Club would like to expand the program to include the top 100 students, based on GPA and SAT scores, from across the country. Through the expanded program, students would get a chance to stay in the dormitories with the students they would shadow.

“We are really excited about taking our program nationwide,” Ard’is said. “The Shadow Explosion Program is just the beginning. We have a lot of things coming up.”

For more information on the Shadow Explosion Program and the Big Bend Area Club, students may contact Ard’is via email at dominickardis@gmail.com.