More than 200 parents and students from eastern Kentucky gathered in Berea, Kentucky, on October 26 to explore educational opportunities and develop their own Map to Success, a program Berea designed to introduce families of high school students to college and career planning. The event marked the first joint effort between Partners for Education at Berea College and CMT Empowering Education, CMT’s initiative challenging viewers to pursue post-secondary education. CMT has recruited some of music’s biggest names to motivate and inspire viewers with their own education stories, including Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
The day-long event began with a showcase featuring art work by students from schools in eastern Kentucky. Next, families ate lunch alongside college students in Berea College’s dining hall to learn more about their college experience. The families toured the campus and attended classes taught by Berea professors. A panel of college students from eastern Kentucky shared their experiences as they moved from high school to college to serve as inspiration for the students and their families.
The day wrapped up with CMT Senior Director of Public Affairs Lucia Folk leading the parents of the visiting students in a pledge to support their children’s education and graduation from high school, as well as planning for college and careers. CMT brought Nashville recording artist Courtney Cole to perform and celebrate the families and their commitments to their children’s education. A graduate of Belmont University, Cole took time between songs to describe the important role college played in her success.
Partners for Education at Berea College is devoted to fulfilling Berea College’s commitment to provide educational opportunities for students primarily from Appalachia, who have great promise and limited economic resources. Eight federally funded programs make up Partners for Education and support the college in reaching this initiative. The oldest of these programs at Berea College, Upward Bound, has been serving low-income, first-generation high school students since 1967. Since that time, the college has also acquired the following federal programs: Educational Talent Search (1991), GEAR UP (1999), Upward Bound Math and Science (1999), Kentucky College Coaches (2010) and Promise Neighborhood (2010). Through these programs, a total of 18 counties in Kentucky are being served.
CMT Empowering Education is a comprehensive educational campaign that provides an online resource, www.CMTEMPOWERINGEDUCATION.com, to aid CMT viewers in overcoming the most commonly perceived obstacles to furthering education. The site aggregates the multitude of existing, quality information, in one easy-to-navigate, central location, and creates an individualized education action plan for each user.
CMT Empowering Education is founded on the same education research and insights that led to the creation of Get Schooled, a non-profit organization dedicated to using media, technology, and popular culture to improve attendance. Get Schooled was formed through a partnership between Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Advising partners for the CMT Empowering Education campaign include Achieving the Dream, Alltuition, Association of Career & Technical Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Center for Workforce & Economic Development, American Association of Community Colleges, National Skills Coalition and Skills for America’s Future, and The Aspen Institute.