Sydney Smith, EDU '23, was in twelfth grade when she got the opportunity of a lifetime. As a participant in the Temple Education Scholars (TES) program, Smith got to take college courses as a high school student. Now, as a full-time College of Education student, Smith is one step closer to pursuing her dreams of becoming an early childhood educator in Philadelphia.
The Temple Education Scholars program is a year-long dual enrollment program that is designed for college-bound high school seniors to take a full semester's worth of education courses at Temple University. Students earn college credits that may apply to two- and four-year colleges and universities, including a Bachelor's degree at Temple University's College of Education.
While Smith originally had a difficult time balancing her high school and college coursework, she credits one of her mentors, Miriam, with helping her overcome the transition. Having mentor meetings every day helped Smith stay on top of both her high school and college coursework.
"Throughout the year it definitely got easier and I enjoyed my time and flourished."
Overall, Smith had a great time in the program as a high school student. She went into the program already having an interest in teaching, so it was a perfect match. She loved her courses and was grateful for all of her TES friends. By the end of high school, they were no longer merely friends; they were family.
"We all got really close and we just enjoyed our time together because we were all experiencing things both in high school and college at the same time."
When it came time to be a full-time College of Education undergraduate student, Smith was excited. She especially enjoyed going to the College of Education's Convocation where she got to learn about other programs in the college and spoke to Dean Anderson.
"I really enjoyed [meeting Dean Anderson]. It was definitely a great memory."
Smith has not wasted any of her time at Temple University. While managing a full course load, she is also an active member of an all-female, non-Greek step team on campus called the Ladies of Elegance. The team spends time competing nationally, working with the college pipeline nonprofit Steppingstone Scholars and performing. They were recently featured on the Tamron Hall Show, a national television show hosted by Temple alumna Tamron Hall, KLN '92.
"It was honestly a great experience. We got a chance to meet Tamron Hall and be behind the scenes and see how all that worked. We actually performed and opened up the show. It was really fun. Being able to be on national television was amazing. My family was very excited."
Smith also was featured on the Philadelphia Community Podcast with Loraine Ballard Morril speaking about the TES program with Assistant Dean of College Access and Persistence Juliet Curci.
Smith is thankful for her time in the TES program and encourages other students to apply.
"[TES] granted so many opportunities for me. Just being able to take college courses while in high school and then actually deciding to come to Temple. I still talk to everyone in that program to this day. The family aspect is great. More people should apply."
To learn more about the Temple Education Scholars program, visit https://sites.temple.edu/edscholars/