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June 17, 2013

RSU Talent Search Brings Students to Campus for SummerFest

Rogers State University's Talent Search program hosted 28 rising 9th grade students on June 13 as a part of the program's annual SummerFest event. The day is designed to enable participating students the information and aid necessary to ensure a successful transition into high school. In addition to an educational component, each student participated in the RSU Hilltop Challenge located in the Nature Reserve on the Claremore campus.

"We know that getting them off to a great start in high school significantly increases their chances of attending college later down the road," said Kevin Abbott, director of the RSU Talent Search program. "Not only did these students get the opportunity to spend the entire day on a college campus, but they had a great time while here. Plus, they are leaving with knowledge that will help them get back here four years from now."

The 26 Talent Search students came from five area middle schools—Chelsea, Skiatook, and Will Rogers, East Central and Clinton in Tulsa. 

Talent Search, which is part of a federally funded effort known nationally as TRiO, targets middle school and high school students who would be first-generation college students and who are from low-income backgrounds.  The program assists them in graduating from high school and continuing to the college or other post-secondary school of their choice. The majority of students who attended SummerFest were both low-income and potential first-generation students who had never before been on a college campus.

A significant part of the day was spent at the RSU Hilltop Challenge. Participants were able to push themselves out of their comfort zones and overcome challenges, just as the program believes they will be doing throughout their high school experience. In addition, a special focus was placed on team-building, leadership, and communication skills and, according to Abbott, all of the students were able to enjoy themselves and take away something positive.

Matthew Mitchell of Skiatook was proud of his efforts.  "I would not normally have done that if I was by myself."  Likewise, Boston Jewell of Clinton Middle School in Tulsa reported that she "liked how we all worked together," but that her favorite part of the day was going down the zip line. She said this was something she may not have had the opportunity to experience if not for the Talent Search program. 

RSU Talent Search is available to any student in one of the program's twelve target schools in northeastern Oklahoma.  Two-thirds of the participants must meet federal low-income guidelines and be considered a potential first generation college student.  For more information, contact RSU Talent Search at 918.343.7826 or e-mail, or on facebook at

Talent Search group photo