A group of 21 high school students from Trinidad & Tobago recently visited Kingsborough Community College (KCC) as part of the twin islands’ Youth Ambassador Program sponsored by local charitable organization En ToTo’s International College Exploration Initiative. The students spent a day with faculty, staff, students, and administrators who shared positive stories and experiences of and at Kingsborough.
Students from six high schools were selected based on their academic performance, and En ToTo membership were accompanied by five chaperones, including En ToTo president JoAnne Harroo-Blackman, teachers, counselors, and parents, as they completed the organization’s first-ever International College Exploration Initiative. En ToTo, formed in 2007, promotes the enhancement of life skills for youth in the academic, social, cultural, and financial areas.
Organized in part by Trinidad & Tobago native and KCC Assistant Professor and Paramedic Program Director Kirt Bowen, the one-week program allowed the students to explore New York City while enjoying new social and cultural experiences, as well as participating in similar exchanges at Kingsborough. They met and spoke with administrators, staff, and students about educational interests including human services, culinary arts, mental health, criminal justice, tourism and hospitality, maritime technology, and emergency medical services. Some the students expressed interest in attending Kingsborough following graduation.
“This was a very positive experience for the visiting group,” said Prof. Bowen. “Many of the students agreed that the trip made all the difference as they are now exploring college opportunities. They feel much more comfortable having visited the actual campus, and learning about the various programs and activities, rather than just reading a brochure.”
During the campus tour, they learned about former KCC Testing & Assessment Director and Trinidad native Kelvin Gift, who spent 22 years at KCC before his death. His portrait now hangs at the College as a testament to his commitment and dedication to the students. They also met KCC Government Relations Director Anthony Andrews and Continuing Education Dean Christine Beckner, also Trinidad natives.
“As an international student from Trinidad, Kingsborough provided a great start to my collegiate and professional career,” said Mr. Andrews, who recapped his academic career highlighting the powerful connection between the twin-island republic and Kingsborough. “It is a perfect example of the Kingsborough’s tagline, ‘Dreams begin here.’”
About En ToTo
Founded in 2007, En ToTo is a Trinidad & Tobago charitable organization dedicated to the growth and development of the Islands’ youth in the areas of academics, social skills, personal development, and financial independence. To date, the life-skills organization has impacted more than 6,000 young lives in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
About Kingsborough Community College
At Kingsborough, the community comes first, and as Brooklyn’s only community college, we promote student learning and development as well as strengthening and serving a highly diverse borough. Kingsborough provides a high-quality education through associate degree programs that prepare students for transfer to senior colleges or entry into the workforce. Serving approximately 16,000 full- and part-time students annually in credit and non-credit bearing courses in liberal arts and career education, Kingsborough also serves an additional 20,000 students in expanding continuing education and workforce development programs on- and off-campus. Approximately 23 percent of Kingsborough students are of Caribbean descent.
Dawn Walker (718) 368-5060 / (917) 588-6305