|Football Field Is Meeting Ground for Students from Steele Creek Youth Network and Davidson College
November 20, 2008
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Davidson, NC-- It’s been said that in North Carolina, basketball is a college’s front porch. But for 30 young people from the Steele Creek Youth Network in Charlotte who are visiting Davidson College this weekend, football may also be a welcoming point of entry.
Thanks to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Foundation grant from the Foundation for the Carolinas, the students—mostly high school kids, but some 8th-graders, as well—will attend Saturday afternoon’s season-ending football game between Davidson and Butler. They’ll have a chance to watch the game on the sidelines of the field. And when the game is over, they’ll join a group of Davidson students for dinner at a Southern Tailgate Picnic being held at Davidson’s Alvarez College Union. There, they’ll talk one-on-one with some of Davidson’s student-athletes (including some members of the football team) who are members of Davidson’s two African-American fraternities, Kappa Alpha Psi and Alpha Phi Alpha. At the dinner, the SCYN students will also meet members of Davidson’s Sistahs of Essence, a student group that focuses on women of color.
Lisa Speas, an officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in Charlotte, NC, co-authored the grant proposal and is coordinating the visit. As creator and director of the CMPD Steele Creek Youth Network, a youth violence- and gang-prevention program based in southwest Charlotte, she regularly develops programming for the students. She notes that although they’re bright and talented, many SCYN kids don’t finish high school—and even fewer consider attending college. She hopes that the visit to Davidson will help capable SCYN students imagine college in a way they might not have before. “I want the kids to have a great time,” she said. “I want them to experience the football game. I want them to meet some Davidson students, and maybe some faculty and staff. I want them to have a chance to be on a college campus—some of them won’t have had a chance to do that before.
“If I had one dream that could come out of this, it would be that one of the kids who visits on Saturday ends up at Davidson,” Speas adds. “That would be incredible. And I believe they have that capacity.”
Speas notes that despite Davidson’s proximity to Charlotte, many of the SCYN students weren’t familiar with the nationally selective liberal arts college until last March’s NCAA basketball tournament. “They’ve heard of Davidson now because they follow basketball, and they’ve heard of Stephen Curry,” Speas said.
Even if the students don’t meet Curry this weekend, Speas said, she knows the experience will be one that they remember.Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.
Posted By: Bill Giduz