Bridgewater State University has long had a message for Brockton students wondering whether college is right for them: “Yes, it is.” Now, BSU faculty and staff can easily spread that positivity within the walls of Brockton High School.
The university has a dedicated office next to one of school’s cafeterias. The space, unveiled at a recent ceremony, is the latest example of the vibrant BSU-Brockton partnership.
“To physically be here, physically be a resource to the administration of Brockton High, but more importantly the students of Brockton High, is what this is all about,” said BSU President Frederick W. Clark Jr., ’83.
Having a presence in a high school is unique for a higher education institution, but it’s an approach officials hope grows.
“It affords our students an opportunity to talk to someone within the building that will guide them in the future of their education,” said Brockton Mayor Moises Rodrigues.
The new office builds on BSU’s extensive mentoring, scholarship and other initiatives that benefit Brockton students. University faculty and staff will use it to continue mentorships started through programs such as the Bridge Partnership, run professional development for Brockton educators, and offer financial aid counseling.
“Students think that they can’t afford college,” Clark said. “I promise you every student can afford college. Sometimes, you just have to sit down with pen and paper and show them.”
Sydné Marrow, director of BSU’s Center for Multicultural Affairs, looks forward to helping Brockton students realize their potential.
“They need to see themselves in us so that they know they have the ability and there are people out there who care,” said Marrow, who is Cape Verdean.
Bridgewater and Brockton officials see the office as a step toward diversifying the teaching workforce. Southeastern Massachusetts gateway cities, of which Brockton is one, have only 8 percent educators of color.
To that end, Clark announced two new scholarships named for the late Mayor Bill Carpenter, a key proponent of a more diverse teaching workforce. They will fund tuition and fees for Brockton students who are committed to teacher preparation programs at BSU and chosen for the award by their principal.
“We can’t thank you enough for what you do for the Brockton Public Schools,” said Interim Superintendent Mike Thomas, ’92, G’99. “Our best teachers are teachers who graduated from Brockton High.”
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