News release
Public Information Office    SLU 10880    Hammond, LA 70402    phone: 985-549-2341    fax: 985-549-2061

Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 8/7/02
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HEAD START ON COLLEGE AT SOUTHEASTERN Frances Wood, head of the Junior Division at Southeastern Louisiana University, right, helps Independence High School senior Rachel Vaccaro, center, fill out a form to participate this fall in Southeastern's Superior High School Juniors program, as Vaccaro's classmate, Whitney Rose, left, looks on. The Superior Juniors program gives high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to get a head start on their college careers, tuition free.

      HAMMOND -- Southeastern Louisiana University's Superior High School Juniors Program is designed to give high school students a head start on their college education. And, according to teens who participated in the program this summer, it works just as advertised.
      "I was really scared, because I've never even been on campus or picked out classes," said Whitney Rose, who will be a senior this fall at Independence High School. "Once I got into it, it became routine."
      Rose and her Independence High classmates Rachel Vaccaro, Jennifer Gordon and Josalyn Brown are among 45 area high school students who are taking a variety of courses such as Freshman Seminar, English 101 and Career Planning through the Superior High School Juniors program. Rose plans to continue participating in the program during her final year in high school and to enroll at Southeastern to study social work.
      Stephen Soutullo, director of Academic Services, said the current total of Superior Junior participants is the highest in the program's history. "We have seen a steady increase since we began offering the Superior High School Juniors scholarships," he said.
      In 2000, the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors gave Southeastern permission to waive tuition for up to two courses per semester for qualified students. A total of 25 students participated in the program that summer.
      The Superior Juniors High School program is open to students who have completed their junior year in high school and who have earned either a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.0 and a composite ACT score of 19 or have earned a composite score of 25 on the ACT. 
      Qualified high school students can enroll in up to two courses per semester if they meet the courses' prerequisites, have permission from their high school principal, and there is space available in the course they want to take. 
      "It's a real joy working with this program," said Frances Wood, head of Southeastern's Junior Division, which administers the program, working closely with Southeastern's Admissions Office. "It's such a win-win situation. Parents are delighted that students are getting a head start on their college careers; students are excited about their learning experiences and adventures here, and we're eager to continue making others aware of the tremendous opportunity to ease the transition from high school to college."
      Current Superior Junior participants attend high schools throughout the Florida Parishes, including Albany High School, Holden High School, Live Oak High School, Walker High School, Springfield High School, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Amite High School, Oak Forest High School, Hammond High School, Independence High School, Ponchatoula High School, Franklinton High School, the St. Paul School, Fontainebleau High School, Northshore High School, Mandeville High School, and the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Several participants are home-schooled.
      "All of my college friends say they wish that they had the opportunity to go through the program," said Gordon. "The best part about Superior Juniors is that if you have any problems or questions, you can go straight to the source and get real honest answers."
      "I'm looking forward to coming back in the fall," said a third Independence student, Josalyn Brown.
      "Teaching Superior Juniors is a very rewarding experience," said Ellen Bush, a Junior Division instructor. "They are truly model students and a pleasure to teach. Without fail, they attend class regularly, turn in assignments on time, actively participate in class discussions, and are self-managed and eager learners."
      "These students visit my office often, usually with many good questions," Wood said. "And, if I don't have an answer immediately, they don't wait for me to contact them; instead, they follow up. They're a motivated group!"
      One of the differences that she has discovered between high school and college is "you're certainly not treated like a little kid anymore," said Vaccaro. "It's on your shoulders to do the work if you don't want to make a bad grade."
      Wood said that some of the current students have volunteered to meet with the high school seniors interested in participating in the fall. "They say they've learned so much about the registration process that they want to help others who will be just as nervous as they were when they started," she said. "This could be the beginning of a mentoring program. 
      "The program is an example of how we're adjusting to meet the educational needs of the community and the area we serve," Wood said.
      For additional information on the Superior High School Juniors Program, contact Wood at 985-549-5102 or or visit

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