Hackettstown, N.J., October 23, 2017 – Centenary University students are embarking on a S.M.A.R.T. initiative with Hatchery Hill Elementary School. This project which first came to fruition last spring stands for Students and Mentors Achieving Results Together. The goal of S.M.A.R.T. is to serve as a resource for elementary school children and as a relevant experience for first-year Centenary students to engage with students in the beginning of their college career as part of the Foundations in Education course.
S.M.A.R.T. became a reality due to the diligent work of Lisa Baldwin, the spouse of Centenary University President and a professional educator, Dr. Emily Anderson, Assistant Professor of Education at Centenary University and Clara Rapuzzi, ESL Instructor at Hatchery Hill Elementary School.
“S.M.A.R.T. was developed to establish a connection with a caring adult and a child that could benefit from having a mentor,” says Baldwin. “It is a buddy system that provides Centenary students with such valuable experience and develops long-lasting relationships. S.M.A.R.T. allows them to have experiential learning opportunities giving them exposure to the age groups that they will teach once they graduate. They can feel confident about their decision to pursue a career in the educational field.”
The goal of the inaugural S.M.A.R.T. group of Centenary students is to keep them engaged in the project as they are ideal candidates to serve in a leadership capacity on a Student Advisory Board for other students who will also embark on this journey.
“The impact S.M.A.R.T. has at Hatchery Hill is a positive one on so many levels,” says Clara Rapuzzi, ESL Instructor at Hatchery Hill Elementary School. “The students at Centenary University share their enthusiasm and encouragement with every visit to our school. They help our students practice skills like reading and writing, comprehension, fluency and word recognition, gathering facts and prediction, which are necessary for academic success.”
Rapuzzi also sees the impact that mentoring has on the children and the admiration that her students have for their mentors.
“I often hear I love my mentor! He or she is the BEST,” says Rapuzzi. “Some say that they want to attend Centenary University as a result of this experience, which is positive because I believe that it is never too early to plan the seed for higher education. S.M.A.R.T. is creating opportunities and a positive impact to all involved.”
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world.
Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County). The Centenary School of Professional Studies offers degree programs online and in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, online, as well as corporate sites throughout New Jersey.