Sep 20: Building Bridges in Macon County

Macon County high school juniors and seniors, many of whom are fulfilling requirements for Bridge Builders Alabama, meet every other Thursday night at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Highway 81 between Notasulga and Tuskegee.  Auburn University undergraduates work alongside them, as they develop skills related to life, work, and college.  The program is funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission. AU students Beth Givens, Marian Royston, Kadedra Smith, and Judah Johnson serve as mentors.  

Students who have logged onto the no-cost, online ACT prep program received cupcakes and shout-outs from Beth Givens, who serves as the students “ACT coach” for the online program.  Our students know that taking the ACT is imperative, and the sooner the take it the better their scores will be.

Tonight we welcomed four very special guests, plus a turtle named Darwin.  Charus Campbell is a diversity initiatives coordinator for Auburn University, and he distributed a very helpful “Roadmap to College” brochure with a checklist. He discussed the college admissions process and the opportunities that exist on campuses for student involvement and academic success.  The students quickly learned that Charus enjoys what he does, and they asked questions about his journey as an engineering student to university professional.

Dr. Ruso Minnifield, President and CEO of Tuskegee Federal Credit Union, discussed how and why a credit union operates.  He had important words for students regarding personal financial credit and why savings is important.  He talked about interest accrual, and he gave us a little of his own story as a business leader.  The credit union is an important community asset, and it has operated since 1938.

Kay Stone and Heather Hughes from the AU Environmental Institute joined us for a second time.  Their first visit occurred during Environmental Education Week, and for that visit they were accompanied by two snakes, two lizards, and two turtles.  One turtle, Darwin, returned for the second visit by special request of student Xavier-Charles Duplessis.

Kay and Heather help students around the state create mosaic benches and stepping stones as a way to transform an environment using the artistry and expertise of students to develop a theme related to whatever they believe is important.  We divided into groups (thanks, Charus, for introducing your group to principles of industrial design!), and students sketched out themes and messages that could be created as a result.  Each group presented their work.  Kay and Heather will take the ideas, sketch out some possibilities that exist as a result, and they will return in November for the next step in the process. In the meantime, students will talk through various locations where the benches might make the best contribution.  Our hope is to have a bench-building day in Macon County on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  Plan to join us!

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