JSU Hosts Mini-Graduation for Youth Summer School Participants

July 30 – Korean culture classes, drone flying, archeology are all classes that seem to be taught to freshmen.

But those are just some of the topics that were taught this summer to a group of 4- to 8-year-olds at Jacksonville State University’s College for Kids.

On Thursday evening, participants and their families gathered at the university’s Houston Cole Library for a graduation ceremony, where JSU President Don Killingsworth presented them with a certificate — or “diploma.”

JSU Provost Christy Shelton also presented them with an authentic coin from Jacksonville State University. Attendees were even able to shake hands or punch Cocky, the university’s mascot.

“One of the little girls, she was saying to her friend, ‘I’m about to start kindergarten, but I’m graduating from college first,'” said Laurie Heathcock, associate professor and librarian in education.

Children from across the region, including Collins and Jack Killingsworth of Killingsworth, participated in 28 classes. Classes had real lectures and small activities taught by real professors from the university.

“The teachers come in and teach the kids something they’re interested in and they get the college experience,” Heathcock said. “They even receive a university orientation at the start.”

Teaching focused on topics that interested the professors themselves, spanning multiple disciplines and areas, according to Heathcock.

This is the third year that JSU has hosted the College for Kids. However, due to the pandemic, the university has been unable to host the program for the past two years, Heathcock said.

The graduating class speaker was a 5-year-old girl named Amelia Williams, who wrote the speech she delivered.

“I learned that lemonade is very tasty and tasty, Juneteen is ‘Free Day,’ and Archeology Day is not about dinosaurs,” Williams said in her graduation speech. “And if you’re stressed, grab a pinwheel and blow it up.”

The little girl ended her speech with a joke. “Why couldn’t the pony sing a lullaby? said Williams. “Because it was a small horse.”