Moravian College Welcomes Local Dual Language School
By Marie Mikols ‘17
Moravian College recently opened its doors to sixth and seventh graders from the Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School (LVDLCS), familiarizing the middle schoolers on the many features and facilities at the Priscilla Payne Hurd campus. Principal Lisa Pluchinsky ’10, a Moravian graduate with an education and administrative certification, explained the Oct. 30 visit allowed her students to see firsthand “the college setting, college expectations, and a general awareness of what attending and graduating from college is really all about.”
It proved to be a valuable opportunity for the Bethlehem charter school, which provides intensive English language learning experience for students whose first language is not English and develops Spanish language skills in dominant language English speakers.
Since many of the school’s children have not been exposed to a college setting before, the event provided a way to present higher education opportunities in the Lehigh Valley. “Our main goal at Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School is to introduce our fourth- to seventh-grade students to college and university experiences so that they have an understanding of exactly what their teachers and I are talking about when we say you’ll need this when you go to college,” explained Pluchinsky. She mentioned that most of the students actually pass Moravian College every day on their way to school. “Many told me, ‘Ms. P, you picked an awesome college’ or ‘Ms. P, I can totally see why you came here,’” recalled Pluchinsky.
During their tour of the Moravian’s campus, the children visited several locations on campus including the H.I.L.L., the Payne Gallery, the Art Studio, and the College’s music area. Upon the students’ arrival, Joseph Shosh, associate professor of education and chair of the Education Department, gave a brief history of Moravian, noting its roots as the sixth-oldest college in the nation. Additionally, current Moravian students served as tour guides and President Bryon Grigsby ’90 and his greyhound, Mo, made a guest appearance. According to Camie Modjadidi, director of field experience at Moravian College, the children were astonished the president took time out his busy schedule to meet with them and loved seeing Mo. “It was a fantastic day. The sixth and seventh graders were thrilled to come on campus. For many of them, it was the first time on a college campus,” said Modjadidi.
Modjadidi explained it is crucial for the students to know there are many options available to them after high school graduation. “I don’t think it’s ever too young to expose children to the possibilities their future may hold,” said Modjadidi. By being better informed, the students can “make better decisions on what to do.”
Considering Moravian’s role in the community, Modjadidi said it’s essential to welcome area students. “Education is clearly so important and part of our responsibility as a community leader is to open doors of opportunity to children,” she explained.
ABOVE: Dave Leidich (right, standing), assistant to the director of Payne Gallery, talks with students during their gallery visit.
ABOVE: Students from the Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School get an introduction to Moravian's campus.
Pluchinsky also believes it is imperative to introduce young children to college and the programs available. “We all talk to my students about … why hard work is important, and why they need to do their homework, but if they don’t understand what college is they have no real idea what they are working for … which makes them less likely to take it seriously,” she said.
When asked to reflect on her school’s visit, Pluchinsky offered only positive feedback. “Moravian far exceeded my expectations when I first began planning,” she said. “I was hoping to get them on campus, walk through the buildings, and maybe see a dorm. However, the wonderful people at Moravian like Camie Modjadidi and Dr. Joe Shosh really planned an amazing tour.”
Seeing the campus’ art studios and classroom really caught the attention of students, noted Pluchinsky. She commended the student tour guides for their patience and thoughtfulness, answering an array of questions from the inquisitive visitors. “Trust me, the kids have tons of questions,” she laughed. “Overall, I thought the entire event was amazing.”
Dr. Shosh agreed on the success of the visit, and applauded Pluchinsky for arranging it. “I am exceptionally proud of LVDLCS principal Lisa Pluchinsky, who knows firsthand the immense value of a Moravian education and is now ensuring that all of the children entrusted to her care are thinking about what it means to go to college,” he said.
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