By: Dalet Valles
Published by: Biola News
A new program created by Biola University’s Torrey Honors College, in partnership with Biola’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion, will give underserved high school students a unique introduction to collegiate studies. The Read Well, Live Well summer program will welcome underserved students in the greater Los Angeles area to experience a glimpse of a liberal arts college education and its power to transform their lives and communities.
“The purpose of the program is to give underrepresented high school students a vision for a liberal arts education and to equip them with the skills that they need in order to accomplish that,” said Dr. Laurie Wilson, program co-director.
Funded by a $300,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation under their Knowledge for Freedom initiative, Biola’s two-week program will allow high school students from the greater Los Angeles area to read and discuss transformative texts with Biola professors. According to the Teagle Foundation website, the initiative has proven to “dramatically improve college readiness, admission prospects, and college graduation persistence while building interest in humanistic writing and issues, as well as habits of civic engagement, that persist during and after college.”
The grant will offer 24 high school students the opportunity to experience college life at Biola and will cover all the costs of staying in the residence halls, eating in the cafeteria, books for the program, field trips and other opportunities, totaling approximately $4,000 per student.
Torrey Honors College professors Wilson and Dr. Mark Makin developed Biola’s Read Well, Live Well program and will lead the high school students through the program, reading and discussing transformative texts from the Torrey Honors curriculum including authors Plato, Aristotle, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Frederick Douglass, among others. The summer program is partially based on the Knowledge for Freedom flagship program at Columbia University, their ‘Freedom and Citizenship Program.’ The founder of Columbia’s program, Dr. Roosevelt Montás, senior lecturer in American studies and English at Columbia University, recently spoke at Biola on how classical books changed his life.
“My time at Biola was hugely inspiring,” said Montás of his experience at Biola. “I was impressed by the depth of thought and awareness I experienced from the students. Throughout my time there, I kept remarking to myself ‘something special is happening here.’”
Torrey Honors College faculty and undergraduate mentors will guide high school students throughout the residential summer program.
“The program is intended for anyone who is interested in seeing what it’s like to experience college and whether that’s possible for them,” said Makin, program co-director. “Teagle just started to create programs like this on the West Coast, and Biola is one of the first.”
Many of the partnerships with the Teagle Foundation’s Knowledge for Freedom initiative are located on the East Coast, including Columbia University and Yale University.
It is a vital opportunity for Biola to increase its involvement in local communities and equip students in the greater Los Angeles area with the skills necessary for college admission and success.
“Just to give underserved students an opportunity to get their foot in the door at any institution of higher education would be a success,” said Makin.
Unlike enrolled Biola students, high school students do not need to identify as Christian to attend Biola’s Read Well, Live Well program. Students all around Southern California are encouraged to apply.
The program will launch this summer and be held from July 17 to July 30. Learn more and apply to Biola’s Read Well, Live Well summer program. Applications close on April 11.