Students investigate a future at college

The Gloucester City College Bound Program is helping students improve their opportunities.

Posted: August 04, 2007

Gloucester City High School athletes Jessica Lindsay, Erin MacAdams and Joe Collins, fans of the CSI and CSI: Miami TV shows, got an up-close look into the world of crime scene investigations this week at Camden County Community College's Blackwood Campus.

The three juniors were among 46 high school students who conducted some of the same laboratory tests they see each week performed by CSI fictional forensic scientist Gil Grissom, played by William Petersen.

The trio lifted fingerprints from storm windows, compared footprints and ink samples and used a hand-held camera that magnified the ridges on their fingerprints to 50 times their size.

"The workshop has made science more interesting, and I'll probably study science harder," said Collins, a 16-year-old offensive tackle and defensive guard on the Lions' football team.

Lindsay and MacAdams, varsity basketball players, had the same reaction

Monday's five-hour workshop, called Forensic Science Career Awareness Day, was incorporated into the Gloucester City College Bound Program at the college, a three-week course of study for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The program, started in 1986, is a state-funded cooperative effort between Gloucester City and the college to give financially hampered students an opportunity to improve their chances of college acceptance.

Since July 9, students have been learning skills that will help them improve their grades and SAT scores. But they were not finished when the summer program ended on Thursday. For 15 Saturdays during the school year, the students will attend classes at the college. They also must have weekly meetings with an adviser who visits the high school.

That's where Judith Bianco comes in.

"I track all of the kids in the College Bound Program and identify their needs," Bianco said. "They could need a tutor or other help.

"The program lights a candle for higher education in Gloucester City. The mean income is $24,000 [annually]. In the state it's $36,000. Parents have little money for cultural development. We help students grow for global competition."

Dennis Ferry, director of the Gloucester City College Bound Program at the college, projected that 80 percent of the students who committed to the program from freshman year on would make it into college.

Iris Duffield, a state monitor who was present at the workshop, said that New Jersey was above the national average for students from low-income families enrolling in college as a result of College Bound. By the spring of 2006, the college enrollment rate was 73 percent.

"I want to go to college," said Lindsay, an A student who has a CSI board game and watches the show with her parents, Tom and Holly, in their Brooklawn home. "An athletic scholarship would be nice, but with the number of athletes, it's better to focus on academics."


Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi

at 856-779-3826 or biezzi@phillynews.com.

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