In June three students from Columbus High School took part in the Harvard University Academy’s @Home program.
Senior Zion Johnson, sophomore Kinsley Hendricks and junior Kendall Henry were chosen by the high school’s teachers and administrators to take part in a five-day virtual class that was directed towards different fields of interest.
“It made me more confident as a student that my teachers would consider me to do something like this,” Henry said.
The courses that were offered were STEM, art, coding, pre-med and business.
Johnson and Hendricks took part in the business course while Henry participated in the pre-med course.
Fees for the online classes were paid by Columbus Municipal School District.
The students worked in groups, and the courses culminated in a final project in their area of interest at the end of the five days.
One goal of CMSD’s participation in the program was to make the idea of attending prestigious Ivy League schools more achievable. Harvard is widely regarded as one of the best universities in the world.
“The program broke down the stereotype of Harvard being unachievable,” Columbus High School Assistant Principal Monte Ewing said.
The program left a mark on all three students afterward.
“I thought it would be cool to be a part of something that Harvard offered,” Johnson said.
For Hendricks, it was the opportunity to say that she took part in something that Harvard offered.
“I did it because it’s Harvard and I can say I did something at Harvard,” Hendricks said.
After participating in the course, Henry said that it was a big deal that Harvard wanted him.
“It’s impactful that Harvard even considered (me),” Henry said.
While the Harvard classes came with big expectations, at least one student thought the coursework was manageable.
“I thought I would be overwhelmed,” Johnson said. “I was more excited than overwhelmed.”
The program was online, which the students said was not as impactful as an in-person experience would have been.
Besides having a confidence boost from the teachers and administration, the interviewed students said they found a confidence in themselves that they seemed to not have before the program.
“I asked myself if I would be able to do the work at Yale, Princeton or Harvard,” Henry said. “The answer is yes, I can.”
The courses were well organized and presented well according to the students, and the program’s use of technology made the coursework manageable.
“It was nice to not have to log out and go somewhere else for something,” Johnson said.
Despite having been taught in a Harvard course, the students said that it felt like there was more to be desired afterward. The program didn’t feel like it was meeting the expectation that they had for a course at Harvard.
“I think they (the three students) can compete with anyone across state borders,” Ewing said. “It helped their trajectory and I think it helped more than they realize at the moment.”
Ewing spoke on the character of the three students saying that they were extremely hard workers and they feel like nothing can hold them back.
Henry summed up his thoughts on the difficulty of the program by saying, “Nothing in life is hard, but it’s only hard when you don’t know what you are doing.”
After taking part in the courses these students said that they have a better understanding of the direction they want to go after high school.
The Harvard @Home program offers has two phases in each of the course emphasis. The next session will be in the summer of 2022.