Blogpost: A Visit from Baldwin High School

By Kelly Finzer

On Wednesday, April 10th, Gina Gallagher, Dr. Burkhardt, and I joined with some outstanding high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Baldwin High School for dinner at Ann Arbor favorite, Pizza House.  These students were on a tour of nine colleges in Southeastern Michigan, gathering information and ideas about the different types of colleges that they may one day decide to attend.  The students had visited Schoolcraft College, Oakland Community College, and Oakland University, alma mater of our own John Burkhardt, earlier that day and had plans to visit the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College the following day.

Our invitation to this dinner came from Miss Ayana Richardson, representative of the Baldwin Promise Zone.  The Baldwin Promise Zone received one of the two grants that Dr. Burkhardt’s EDUC 769 course awarded as part of its Fall 2012 curriculum.  Since Gina and I were both students in the class and have continued to support the grant process, we were also invited to join the Baldwin Panthers for some of their time in Ann Arbor.

In this picture, from left: Ann Desiderio, UM Master's Student, Jacob Burton, Baldwin Sophomore, Alice Howard, Baldwin Junior, Kamaria Taylor, Baldwin Junior

In this picture, from left: Ann Desiderio, UM Master’s Student, Jacob Burton, Baldwin Sophomore, Alice Howard, Baldwin Junior, Kamaria Taylor, Baldwin Junior

Unfortunately, the evening began with rain as the drizzly afternoon turned into evening showers. However, bright and cheerful students scampered off of the bus and into a warmly lit Pizza House for an evening of food and fun.  We started off our time together with introductions as each student shared their name, year in school, and an early favorite for postsecondary study.  I found the students’ excitement over their options for college inspiring and really enjoyed learning which schools in Michigan they found appealing.  As a native Ohioan, I know very little about most of Michigan’s colleges beyond the Big Ten so I learned about many other schools in Michigan as well.

Over delicious pizza, Gina and I listened to the students’ descriptions of the first part of their trip.  After visiting three schools, they were beginning to wonder more about what resources were available on campus.  One student mentioned that she occasionally needs help with chemistry homework.  Gina and I assured her that she would be able to find it on a college campus and shared stories about our own struggles with college chemistry.

We finished out the night with a rousing round of The Victors.  Since the Baldwin students did not know the University of Michigan’s fight song yet, Dr. Burkhardt recruited as many volunteers as he could to help us teach it.  We were joined by both managers and patrons of Pizza House as we launched into “Hail! to the Victors valiant!”  As the song concluded, we posed for a picture, and the students set off on the next leg of their tour.





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