The Joe Barnhart Scholarship Program at A.C. Jones High School accepts as many students as want to be helped on their post-high school education path, be it a four-year university, junior college or technical training.
Thanks to the largesse of Bob and Lou Adele May, the Barnhart Scholarship Program held its annual retreat at a ranch near Beeville. The two dozen volunteers spent a day getting caught up on the new rules and regulations regarding colleges and the various career paths they offer.
Glynis Strause from Coastal Bend College (CBC) expounded on the virtues of some type of training after high school. Among her facts and figures is the statistic that, while a high school graduate can earn $34,000 annually without additional education, a college graduate can earn $56,000, and a person with a professional qualification can earn nearly $100,000. At the same time, she discussed the virtues of working in a profession one loves, as opposed to working strictly for a salary.
Both a recruiter and a counselor at CBC, Vanessa DeLeon spoke about coming to the A.C. Jones campus and meeting with prospective students. She not only counsels them about the application process, career path and class schedule, but she remains their counselor for the duration of their stay at CBC.
Sara King, a counselor at Del Mar College, brought the volunteers up to date on the many avenues that college in Corpus Christi has to offer, including culinary training, dental hygiene and medical programs. In-district tuition is available to all students the moment they secure an apartment lease or establish residency in Nueces County.
Since junior colleges are often a “jumping off” point for students who intend to transfer to a four-year college at some point, they have unified their course descriptions so that classes will transfer easily to any state college.
Every year, Paula Duffy, director of the program, hand-selects a group of students who work in the Barnhart office during their off-periods. These students are among the brightest and most hard-working. They themselves mentor other seniors and are an invaluable resource in that office. This year’s Barnhart workers attended the weekend retreat, and each shared a helpful tip with the rest of the volunteers.
Emily Shane is a 2006 JHS graduate and the Barnhart Program. Emily came to the retreat to share her successes and to thank the volunteers who helped get her on her way. She is a recent graduate of Texas A&M-College Station, where she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in geology.
Gino Chincarini, whose two daughters are also graduates of the program and who is a mentor himself, came to share his expertise in the area of physical therapy. Chincarini’s agenda was for the mentors themselves – to get up and move.
A quick history of the Barnhart Scholarship Program was given by Nancy Jones, assistant superintendent of curriculum. Jones also spoke about deferred gratification. That is to say, not all students benefit from the mentoring in an obvious and timely way. Sometimes, it is years later that a student will return to say “thank you.”
The volunteers who attended this annual retreat were fed, entertained and patted on the back. They also learned. The Step Ahead Program, a Barnhart Foundation program which focuses on freshmen, was represented by Scotty Draper. Draper explained to the volunteers that her program, also staffed almost entirely by volunteers, will begin its aptitude assessment of freshman in the next few weeks.
The Joe Barnhart Foundation funds these, as well as a variety of other programs in Beeville. But the Joe Barnhart Scholarship Program is a unique collaboration between a publicly funded high school and a private foundation. Each year, community volunteers donate their time and talent to help graduating seniors from A.C. Jones with college applications and applying for scholarships.