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A group of students in Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity has begun working with sixth-graders from Clifton-Fine Central School in Star Lake, New York, in a project sponsored by the Foundation for Excellent Schools, an organization that emphasizes early college awareness.

"The Phi Sig Initiative" involves St. Lawrence students, who go to the Adirondack-area school each week for after-school activities with the sixth-graders. Coordinator Daniel Lee '05, of Fryeburg, Maine, says that the program is not an academic one, but rather one that will teach students leadership by example, emphasize community involvement and introduce them to the idea that going to college is a goal they can achieve.

The brothers of Phi Sig involved in the program also plan to bring the Clifton-Fine students to campus in the spring, for tours and activities that will help them understand what skills are needed for college admission, and what will be expected of them once they enroll in a college.

The Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES) is committed to helping member schools in low-income communities identify, initiate, and sustain practices that will enable students to achieve stronger performance. Clifton-Fine is one of 12 schools in the Foundation's Adirondack Excellent Schools Program, which has goals of achieving gains in student performance grades, attendance, motivation, attitude, and/or the number of students aspiring to higher education. Participating schools report strong linkages with one or more regional colleges, through mentoring initiatives, and connections with other AESP/FES schools that are increasing learning opportunities and providing resources that are helping Adirondack students take "one more step."

In a recent editorial published in several regional newspapers, FES President Rick Dalton stated, "A fraternity from St. Lawrence University recently made a unique pledge to help students. Members of Phi Sigma Kappa have taken on a service project to mentor and conduct goal-setting sessions in FES Adirondack schools. Educational challenges nationwide are immense and many trends are cause for concern, but support from colleges, especially for those in the Adirondack region, is cause for hope."

For more about the Foundation for Excellent Schools, visit their Web site.

Posted: March 7, 2003