By Andrea Holata
BRIGHTON — For the first time, the Seminole Tribe’s Higher Education Department offered the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) for Brighton students on Jan. 11.
Twenty-nine students in grades eighth through 11th from Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School and surrounding schools gathered at the Brighton Veteran’s Building to take the test. The PSAT gives students firsthand practice for the SAT and helps them gauge their performance on an admissions test compared to others applying to college. It measures critical reading, math problem-solving and writing skills.
Although the test is geared toward students in 10th through 12th grades, eighth-graders took the two-and-a-half hour test as well in hopes of preparing them at an earlier age.
“We are really trying to put emphasis on recruiting them and encouraging them to attend college,” said Tribalwide Higher Education recruiter Malissa Morgan. “So the more exposure we can have at the beginning getting them accustomed to taking these tests and the strategies they entail, the better prepared they are when they actually start taking the real tests.”
After students completed the PSAT, they enjoyed lunch and listened to their peers speak about the importance of taking their education seriously by attending school, demonstrating discipline and competing in athletics.
The students were also given their test scores and strategies on how to improve.
“We are committed to working cooperatively with public schools, Tribal schools, BIA schools, boarding schools, private schools, technical schools, colleges and universities to ensure that each Tribal citizen has access to the highest quality of academics to achieve excellence,” said Paola Moneymaker, Higher Education program manager, in an email.
The Tribe’s Higher Education Department has helped 123 Tribal students graduate from college since 1965 and has hopes to help many more by 2014.
“Our goal is for all high school graduates to attend and graduate from college so that they have the knowledge and adequate levels of preparedness to help lead (their) Tribe to further excellence,” Moneymaker said.
By offering preparation tests, tutoring, college essay and application workshops, college career fairs, and individualized and group college visits, the Higher Education Department hopes to help each Tribal member transition from high school into the college of his or her choice.
“I hope to encourage them and motivate them to take the next step, to realize that college and their education is something that no one can take from them,” Morgan said. “Once they have it, it’s theirs, and they will always have it. We hope to encourage the Tribal member students to graduate college and come back and work for the Tribe.”