Drury Scholars prepares African-American students for college

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 23, 2014 — This weekend Drury Scholars began its seventh summer of providing academic and cultural enrichment for local African-American middle school and high school students.

The Scholars program began in 2008 with 15 African American males in an attempt to close the racial achievement gap. It has since to expanded to include young females and grown considerably. This year, about 45 students are in the weeklong program.

It began over the weekend with a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas where students explored African-American historical sites such as Little Rock Central High School, a key location in the fight to desegregate public schools in the United States. Throughout this week, the Scholars will focus on college readiness by writing essays for admission and scholarship applications, and studying for the ACT. They’ll meet with local black leaders such as entrepreneur Lyle Foster and former City Council member Denny Whayne. Classes with Drury faculty are also part of the curriculum.

Local students, global impact

This year Drury Scholars is partnering with a Springfield nonprofit project called For Burkina, which is raising funds to build a school in the impoverished West African nation of Burkina Faso. For Burkina is composed of local young professionals, including several recent alumni of Drury’s Hammons School of Architecture, led by Brittany Layton and Benjamin Hall. Its goal is to fund, design and build a three-classroom primary school for a rural village that will educate more 120 children a year.

Burkina bricks 3

On Sunday evening, the For Burkina team and the Drury Scholars made clay bricks and mosaic tiles. On Wednesday they will paint the bricks and tiles with patterns and artwork depicting African folk tales starting at 4 p.m. at Pool Art Center. Media are invited to cover the event, as well as the entire Drury Scholars week. The bricks and mosaics will later be made available for purchase online, at First Friday Artwalk and at local retailers. All of the proceeds will go towards the $32,000 cost of building the school in Burkina Faso. Materials and supplies have been donated by local businesses including L&R Specialties, MosaicaRose, National Art Shop and Sapp Design Associates Architects.

“We love the partnership with For Burkina,” said Peter Meidlinger, co-founder of Drury Scholars. “Our students will contribute to funding much-needed schools in Burkina Faso. We will all learn about the desperate need for schools in Burkina and the value of education to young people. We’re excited to be a part of the important work that Brittany Layton and Benjamin Hall are committed to.”

“The For Burkina team is thrilled to be working with local kids in order to fund a school for kids in Burkina Faso,” said Benjamin Hall, co-founder of For Burkina. “To be able to work with my alma mater and to be able to see the enthusiasm and dedication toward not only the For Burkina mission but also toward the Summer Scholars students is encouraging.”

Burkina bricks 2

Drury Scholars will continue throughout the week. For more information about Drury Scholars, contact Dr. Peter Meidlinger, (417) 873-7469, pmeidlin@drury.edu; Francine Pratt, (417) 873-6827, fpratt@drury.edu, or Mike Brothers.

For more information about For Burkina, contact: Benjamin Hall, (417) 227-0045, aschoolforburkinafaso@gmail.com, or go to Facebook.com/ForBurkina.

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