Norwalk Public Schools receives 40,000 free books from First Book

The Norwalk Federation of Educational Personnel (NFEP) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) led the effort to bring more than 40,000 free books provided by the national organization First Book to Norwalk Public Schools (NPS). 

But first, up to 2,000 eligible school staff and volunteers needed to register with First Book! This registering included NPS staff, and staff from community programs who serve students and families in need, such as Carver. 

The registration campaign worked. The 40,000 books were just delivered to Ponus Middle School!

Carver after school students are seen here with Ponus Middle School Principal, Damon C. Lewis, Ed. D., helping NPS staff, NFEP volunteers, Norwalk's police and fire personnel and cadets, and many others to sort the books and to later help distribute them throughout the NPS system!

Soon, NPS classrooms, school buses, front offices, school nurse health rooms, cafeterias and afterschool programs will receive these gifted new books. Students will take these books home to read. Parents will be encouraged to read to their children. Thank you, everyone!


Shanna Lopez and Stefani McCollum report from Troy University as Carver's 47th annual College Tour draws to a close

Troy University

By Shanna Lopez and Stefani McCollum

We are at the end of our business portion of our 47th Annual College Tour. After being whisked through the states of Alabama and Tennessee with plans for visiting Six Flags over Georgia we have not skipped a beat. I must admit that when we left Norwalk, many of us had no idea what we would see and experience. Our imagination went into full gear as we eagerly traveled down I 95 and over the Tappan Zee Bridge beaming with excitement.

Today we are touring the campus of Troy University, home of the Trojans and located in Troy, Alabama. Troy University was founded in February 1887, when the Alabama Legislature established Troy State Normal School to train teachers for Alabama schools. In 1893, the school was renamed Troy State Normal College. Joseph Macon Dill was the first president of Troy.

With a population of nearly 8,000 students, Troy is seen as a medium size school. Troy has over one hundred student organizations and five different locations in Alabama. It is an international college with seventy-five different countries represented. Considering that we were touring on Good Friday, we were surprised to see so many active students around campus.

The minimum admission requirement is a 2.0 GPA, 20 on the ACT and 1030 on the SAT and there are generous scholarships for those who meet the criteria.

Our tour guide Mary Stewart did an excellent job of highlighting the beauty and charm of Troy University and the city of Troy. Troy is one of the most charming cities in the south. It has an unusual blend of small town values and big city offerings.

We see Troy as a school that is welcoming and nurturing to an average student while giving the same special attention to the high performing students.

Carver's Jessica Ramirez and Woodney Cadet report the University of Alabama in Huntsville on Carver's 47th annual College Tour

University of Alabama in Huntsville

By Jessica Ramirez  and Wodney Cadet

Huntsville, Alabama is affectionately known as the “Rocket City” because it's home to N.A.S.A and their space program. It's also home to the University of Alabama – Huntsville (UAH).

The University of Alabama in Huntsville was established in 1950, and became a full-fledged university in 1969. Compared to many of the other schools we have visited, it is a relatively new school. Aesthetically, the buildings look modern and the campus has a feeling of being designed from a master plan. None of the buildings seems out of place.  As we stroll the grounds there were signs of campus life all over. Student organizations set up interactive activities as well as information and recruitment stations. Fellow Carver students on the College Tour, Zyaire and Paul, joined the interactive activities and they loved it.

UAH has seven academic colleges and with nearly 8,000 students enrolled it is considered a medium size school. The top majors are engineering and nursing, and they have one of the best nursing programs in the state. Students can choose from over 150 student organizations.

To gain admission to UAH, you need a 2.9 GPA, an ACT score of 20 or higher and a score of 1,440 or higher on the SAT. The school offers merit tuition scholarships, and the higher your standardized test score or GPA, the higher the scholarship amount. For example, if your SAT score falls between 1,310 and 1,380, your merit award is 67% of your tuition. SAT scores between 1,390 and 1,510 will earn you 100% of your tuition in scholarship. The same applies to your GPA, so a 4.0 will earn you 100% of your tuition.

The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1.  The graduation rate is 70%, but the graduation rate varies depending on the major. The average students per class is 28 as upperclassmen, but as a freshman or sophomore your classes are larger, mostly if you take the science/biology major.

In sports the school is mostly in Division 2, but recently their hockey team became Division 1.  One of our tour guides, Christian, informed us that the sports teams have improved a lot since he's been here.

Our experience was pretty amazing because of our other tour guide, Nicole. She is a nursing major and so was able to take us to see the College of Nursing. She showed us a lot of human dummies in different situations, which gave us an idea of what the practical hands-on as well as as academic course work is like for nursing students.

The history that the school shares with N.A.S.A was fascinating to us as well. UAH graduate student Saroj Kumar, a master’s candidate in aerospace engineering, spent two weeks as a crew scientist and executive officer at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah.

Carver students Chennel Carson and Fransheli Ventura report from Alabama A&M University on Carver's 47th annual College Tour

Alabama A&M University

By Chennel Carson and Fransheli Ventura, 10th graders at Brien McMahon High School

This is day 6 of our college tour and we have arrived on the campus of Alabama A&M University. Mr. Morris Hall, an elderly silver haired gentleman, not like the other much younger guides from the previous days, greets us. His deep southern accent commands attention and his presence and communication style exudes wisdom, not to mention his stamina as he raced up the many hills on campus and encouraged us all to “keep up”.

We learned that the abbreviated A & M stands for Agricultural and Mechanical.  Alabama A & M is a historically Black college and university (HBCU), non-private, state supported college that was founded in 1875 by a slave named Dr. Hooper William Council. Dr. Council became a free man and wanted to create a school for African Americans to learn, so when he became a free man after the civil war, he built a school in the same location where many slaves were sold. Each year the entire student body gathers around his burial site for a celebration of his life and the school that he founded.

The admission requirement for A&M is a GPA of 2.5; SAT score of 1290 and ACT score of 18. Between 1,600 and 2,000 freshman students are admitted per year. Tuition for out-of-state is $23,000 and for in-state it's $22,000 dollars.

Alabama A&M has the second largest campus as an HBCU following behind Howard, although other black colleges may have more students. The school colors are maroon and white and the school's mascot is a bulldog. The Louis Crews football stadium is called the “dog house” as a clever way to involve the school's mascot. We were all excited to see one of the buildings named after Carver's namesake, George Washington Carver. We did not need an education in his contributions to agriculture. 

Most impressive to us is the schools graduation rate, which happens to be 85%, and also the schools atmosphere. It is a very cool school. While we were on the campus, we walked to the middle of campus where a handful of the students were on the Quad, which is an area within the college where some of the students go to hold parties and fun events for the school. It is a way for the campus to come together and somewhat ease their mind and relax with the many fun events being held there.

Alabama A&M is a D1 school for sports. The university offers free academic assistance for everyone. The school is a safe school. There is a campus curfew for this co-ed campus where males and females have separate dorms. There are also rules in place to deter students of the opposite sex from spending time in each other's dorm rooms, and if they are caught violating the rules, then there is strong punishment. 

In addition to the strong academics, Alabama A&M celebrates its rich history that recognizes the struggles of the past and its effort to carry on the legacy and pride of educating young black students.

Carver's Angel Reyes reports from Johnson University on Carver's 47th annual College Tour

Johnson University

By Angel Z. Reyes, 11th grader, Norwalk High School - Norwalk Early College Academy

It was a sunny and beautiful afternoon as our driver Armando weaved his way through the narrow roads of the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Knoxville, Tennessee to Johnson University and to one of the most welcoming of entryways.

The words Faith Prayer Work on the sign greeted us. As we watched the grooming of the manicured lawn my attention quickly drifted to the movie "Forest Gump" as the lawnmower formed perfect lines. Even more breathtaking was the beautiful waterfall in the middle of a pond surrounded by architecturally appealing buildings. This private Christian university was one of the most beautiful campuses on our tour to date and many of my peers were as excited as me to see and learn more.

As an eleventh grader this is actually my third consecutive Carver college tour, and I was eager see what awaited me. Our tour guide Hannah Baker greeted us and we were led to an information session, followed by a physical tour around the university.  We all were slowly grasping the images and the history of this campus.

The founder and first president of the university was Dr. Ashley S. Johnson. When Dr. Johnson founded the university he had no money, nothing but his vision supported by his caring wife. This university started with many prayers, and from there it stemmed out into a beautiful gift from the Lord. Johnson University was founded In 1893. The initiative included a combination of a preparatory school, college, and church into a single system of education. The minimum GPA requirement today is 2.5 depending on the major a student is interested in pursuing. Academics are taken very seriously here. The university’s goal is to help young leaders grow and make a difference in the world. It has an even balance of male and female students on campus. Although it is a private college, students in-state and out-of-state have roughly around the same tuition of $13,000 yearly. 

The school's founder believed in educating the whole person, and even the first building stayed true to his vision by housing the dormitory, dining room, classrooms, chapel, and library all under one roof.  Johnson University leaders envision students achieving academically, growing spiritually and succeeding under the path of the Lord.

Since the campus is quite small with around 700 students, people know each other, and do their best to make everyone feel right at home. When you enter Johnson University you become a part of a family. People will support you in your journey to find the career that fits you personally. Johnson University is one of the finest and most respected Christian universities in the country. It helps students answer the question – Do you have a vision for a better world? Johnson University helps service-minded students to identify their part in the world, and the preparation they need to be successful.

Carver student Keon Davis reports from Fisk University, one stop on the Carver College Tour

Fisk University

By Keon Davis, 10th grader Norwalk High School

It was faith that brought Jason Harrison, admission counselor at Fisk University to our group. He greeted us and ushered us to the Fisk Memorial Chapel. He had a communication style that was witty, jovial and yet stern.

He commanded our attention and shared his journey from Detroit, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee. Jason is a proud graduate of Fisk. He graduated in 2005 and has elected to remain with the university. It was Jason's frankness that resonated with us. He was not pushy for us to select Fisk University; he was more interested in laying out options and sharing his ideas on the college selection process.

Jason insisted that we look at four criteria during our college selection process. First, does the school offer the academic programs that you are interested in?  Secondly, Is this school a social fit? Thirdly, Does the school fit your needs and fourthly, is the school a financial fit?  

Fisk has no minimum GPA admission requirement, but this does not mean that everyone gains admission. The selection committee takes a strong look at your recommendations and test scores. The tuition is $32,191, and though it may be pricey it's a down payment on the gateway to a good life.

Fisk was founded in January 9, 1866; it is the oldest university in Nashville. It is located on 40-acre campus in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. Fisk enrolls around 754 students from 25 states and 7 countries in its undergraduate and graduate programs. Their student body is 90% African American with 75% of students not being from Tennessee.

Did you know Fisk was the first among historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) to gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools? Did you know Fisk was the first HBCU to receive a prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Chapter? Did you also know that Fisk was the first HBCU to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music?

Fisk's persistence rate is 84%, the national average persistence rate is 66.5%. All of Fisk's numbers are great but the environment is even better. They make you feel welcome as if it's your own home. Charles S. Johnson (1893-1956), Fisk University's first African American president, is credited for the school's great achievements in the early years.

During a tour of Great Britain and Europe in 1873, Fisk Jubilee Singers (11 members) performed “Steal Away to Jesus” and “Go Down Moses” for Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was so impressed that she commented that with such beautiful voices, they had to be from the Music City of the USA. This is how Nashville, Tennessee earned its name – Music City USA. The tour raised $150,000, which was used to build Fisk's first permanent building named Jubilee Hall. It was fitting that Fisk bestowed an honorary doctorial degree on the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson in 1988 for his musical accomplishments.

Fisk University will suit you if you like a cozy, warm environment. Everyone knows each other and if they don't know you they will go out of their way to try to help you out. It is a great college to help you prepare for the real world.

Marti Lametta at Halstead Real Estate/Westport donates new basketballs to Carver

We're so grateful to Marti and her colleagues at the Halstead Real Estate office in Westport for their generous and thoughtful gift of new basketballs to our after school recreational programs at the Carver Community Center.

Here at the at City Hall are (L-R) Shannon Singleton-Bates, Carver's Recreation Coordinator, Novelette Peterkin, Executive Director, and Mayor Rilling, standing with Marti Lametta and Kecia Von Der Ahe of Halstead Real Estate.

Thank you everyone for supporting Carver kids!

Carver students Zyaire Sellers and Shaniya Daley report from the University of Tennessee on the College Tour

Report from the University of Tennessee, in a series of reports from Carver students on the 2017 College Tour now underway

By Zyaire Sellers and Shaniya Daley, both 10th graders at Norwalk High School

The University of Tennessee (UT) has an amazing campus with many tall and modern buildings. With more than 28,000 undergraduate students enrolled, UT is larger than many US towns. Though one of UT's most famous graduates is the football star Peyton Manning, there are many other sports available to students.  Former Knicks basketball players Allan Houston and Bernard King, and WNBA Tamika Catchings are also graduates of UT.

Today we met current freshman basketball player Kamera Harris (standing between us in the photo to the right!) from Atlanta, GA. Kamera shared that she did not experience the routine admission process. She was recruited to play basketball and entered with a 3.6 GPA. Her admission counselor helped to navigate the process for her. Kamera finds it most challenging to juggle all her responsibilities. She currently has a 3.2 GPA and takes full advantage of all the resources that is available to her. As a freshman she is allowed to have a car and she likes the housing accommodations.

The University of Tennessee ("Big Orange") was founded in 1794, and is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. 24% of the 28,052 students enrolled identify as non-white. 50% of students are female and 50% are male. The student-to-teacher ratio is 17:1, with 27.8% of classes having fewer than 20 students. The university offers 141 majors and 50 minors. Although it is a Division I school, there are several sport groups that aren't represented by the UT athletic teams. The average GPA is 3.89, weighted. The average SAT Math is 583 and the Critical Reading is 576. The average ACT Composite score is 27. In-state tuition is $28,562. Out of state tuition is $46,752. 

Peyton Manning and Reggie White have left their mark at UT. Peyton is young enough to still be celebrated at UT. He led the Tennessee Volunteers to the 1997 SEC Championship his senior year. The Indianapolis Colts picked him as the first overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Manning led the Colts to two AFC Championships, 8 division championships, and 1 Super Bowl title. Manning then transferred to the Denver Broncos from 2012-2015. He led them to win Super Bowl 50 as starting quarterback. 

UT has a rich campus life with 18 sororities and 22 fraternities and their commitment to Greek Life is evident from the beautiful houses that line the main road of the campus.

We really enjoyed our visit to UT during Carver's 47th annual College Tour!