Middlebury College hockey players recently visited Ticonderoga Middle School as part of a College For Every Student program designed to encourage local middle school students to think about attending college. Jamie McKenna, left, assistant coach, and Robbie Dobrowski of the men’s hockey team visit with students.
Annabelle Jones recorded her fourth shutout this season, making 22 saves in goal, as Middlebury blanked Connecticut College, 3-0, Feb. 8.
Jones’ sterling performance for the Panthers, ranked second in the national among NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey teams, came days after meeting with students at Ticonderoga and Crown Point schools.
Jones visited the schools as part of a College For Every Student program designed to encourage local middle school students to think about attending college. Jones was joined by her teammate, Kate Moreau, and Panther men’s hockey players Robbie Dobrowski, Drew Michaels and Louie Belisle. Also visiting was Jamie McKenna, men’s hockey assistant coach.
“The goal is to promote college awareness,” Tracy Price, Ticonderoga Middle School head teacher, said. “The Middlebury students talk about how they decided to attend college, how they selected a college, how they balance college life and extracurricular activities.
“I think it’s great that our students can identify with college students,” she said. “We want our students to see themselves as successful college students in the future.”
Andrea McDonald, CFES college ambassador, said the Middlebury College athletes benefit from the program as well.
“This is a service project for them,” McDonald said. “It’s an opportunity for them to make a positive impact on the life of a young student. I think the Middlebury students enjoy it.
“This is also an opportunity to open the eyes of middle school students to the possibilities of college,” she said.
Middlebury College athletes have visited local schools as part of the CFES program in the past, but the Feb. 4 trip to Ticonderoga and Crown Point was the first of this academic year.
“This is the first visit of, hopefully, many,” McDonald said. “We also want to take students to Middlebury so they can see the campus and get a feel for college life. We want them to use the facilities, go to a game and meet more athletes.”
McKenna, a former Middlebury hockey player and now an assistant coach, grew up Lake Placid. He stressed students from small, Adirondack schools can have college success.
“I think it’s great for these kids to interact with college-age students,” said McKenna, a 2009 Middlebury graduate. “A lot of Middlebury students come from small towns, like me. There’s no reason kids in Ticonderoga can’t have college success.”
More than two dozen Ticonderoga students met with the Middlebury athletes, breaking into small groups to discuss college life.
“I think breaking into small groups really helps,” McKenna said. “I think kids are more comfortable asking questions in smaller groups and there’s more interaction.”
The CFES program is good for the Middlebury athletes, the assistant coach said.
“I think it’s great for us,” McKenna said. “You’re kind of in a bubble on a college campus. It’s good to get off campus and see where these kids come from, the challenges they face. Hopefully, some of them will be Middlebury students some day.”
Price said Ticonderoga is committed to exposing its students to college. Every student in grades 4-8 will visit a college campus this academic year, she said — fifth graders will go to North Country Community College, fourth and sixth graders will visit Castleton State College in Vermont, eighth graders will go to Paul Smith’s College and seventh grade students will visit a New England campus during their annual whale watch trip.