Students, teachers and officials celebrated Central Connecticut State University’s ConnCAP 25th Anniversary Monday.
The mission of the program is to provide a diverse population of first generation and low income students access into higher education by preparing them to meet high academic, personal and social standards.
Held at the Vance Green, more than 150 people observed the program that “has guided generations of curious minds toward their goals,” said Awilda Reasco, ConnCAP director.
“When I wrote a grant I wanted a middle school program because I felt the need to incorporate 8th graders into our summer program,” said Reasco. “There was a lot of mixed felling, but the teachers can tell you it’s the best thing that happened. The upper grades mentor the younger grades and they are one big family.”
This is the fifth summer that 8th graders have been part of ConnCAP. The program has over a 99 percent attendance rate.
“While a new class graduates and we celebrate 25 years of helping students reach their goal, we provide them with hope,” Reasco said. “In order for us to instill in each kid education, we must believe in education to begin with.”
“It is a wonderful way to reach out and help the community and to be able to have the success that we are building for future generations and making a brighter future for individuals and our state,” said Mayor Tim O’Brien.
O’Brien presented a proclamation from the City celebrating the ConnCAP program for designing and preparing students with the necessary skills and motivation for success in college.
Dr. Peter Rosa, program officer for the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, said that CCSU has the best proposal for the program of any of the schools.
“I’m very pleased that my alma mater is the very first and oldest ConnCAP program. I was so proud to see a unanimous vote for Central to receive this,” said Rosa. “Number one take pride in the fact that you are in a program that has such a long tradition of succeeding and number two thank those students before you. Number three take responsibility for keeping the success going.”
Charles Jones Jr., former director of athletics and educational support services said in 1996 a grant was put together for the program. The theme was that this is a “summer that can change your life”.
New Superintendent of Schools Kelt Cooper told student that what they are doing in this program will profoundly change their lives forever.
“If you are going to be in this program, be the best you’ve ever seen,” said Cooper.
Dr. Carl Lovitt, CCSU provost and vice president, said that in the 1980s the United States was the number one country in the world in producing college graduates. Last year the United States was 13th in the world.
“Programs like ConnCAP are going to make us number one again,” said Lovitt. “You’ve got something extra. The program has instilled a sense of responsibility. It has instilled in you a sense of pride. It has instilled in you the importance of helping each other.”
Students in the program said it has done a lot for their future.
“I like ConnCAP because it gives you the college experience. We get to be on the college campus and take classes here,” said Angelina, student. “It helps us get ahead in the school year.”
“I like ConnCAP because it tells you everything you need to know about college and the upcoming year in high school,” said Catherine, student. “My SAT scores improved by 100 points from the beginning to the end of the school year.”
Sophomore student Amanda said ConnCAP was a good experience overall.
“It is really fun and not a waste of time at all,” she said. “You get to figure out what you will learn the following year.”
One-hundred-twenty students from New Britain graduated from ConnCAP in 2012.