Nearly 300 eighth graders received the ultimate Duke campus tour this month, from visiting Duke Chapel and student residence halls to hearing from scientists and basketball players.
School Days, an immersive college experience that is in its 18th year at Duke, invites Durham eighth-grade students to tour Duke campus every fall. Many of the students would be the first generation in their family to attend college, and students are invited to the day-long tour by counselors and teachers at their middle schools.
During School Days on Nov. 3, middle school groups walked around the quad carrying white signs displaying their school’s name, and Duke students and employees served as their tour guides. At lunchtime, students from Lowe’s Grove Magnet Middle School of Technology sat in the Bryan Center Plaza and ate pizza, then walked over to Cameron Indoor Stadium to see the basketball court.
Earlier in the day, they had already visited a residence hall, where they remembered seeing a mini fridge and acoustic guitar in the Duke student’s room. They also visited with a scientist from Duke’s Cell and Molecular Mechanobiology Lab and discussed “glowing cells,” as well as stopped by Duke’s 3D printing lab.
Linaka Norman, who is in her first year serving as counselor at Lowe’s Grove, said the School Days trip paired perfectly with her recent eighth-grade lessons about preparing early for college.
“This is important,” said Norman, who also mentioned many of her students would be first-generation college students. “Them being on campus, and (college) becoming a reality for them, that is something you can’t teach.”
Thirteen-year-old Osmin Castro, who attends Lowe’s Grove, said he started planning for college when he was in sixth grade. He thought about studying engineering, but after School Days, he said he is leaning more toward science and technology.
“I liked learning about everything that they told us,” Castro said about meeting Duke students and employees during School Days. He is continuing to work toward college. “My friends always tell me to not delay things, not procrastinate, and work hard.”