News: Banneker High School Students Visit Georgia Tech Writing & Communication Program

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Posted March 9, 2017

Georgia Tech welcomed 43 Banneker High School AP English students and their teachers on February 28 to attend class, meet students and faculty, and tour the campus. The day provided a bridge between Banneker and higher education, fostering confidence and motivation in the Banneker students who brought their intellectual curiosity and energy to the campus.

“This was my first college tour,” said 11th grade Banneker student Calle Holloway, “I felt like I would fit in.” Chavon Grazier was surprised that “the modern design of Georgia Tech meshed with the nature of Atlanta” and loved the “spectacular views of the rooftop garden.” Ny’asia Daniel and Aysha Miller both noted the campus diversity, with Ny’asia reflecting that everyone “really made [her] feel welcome” and that she “belonged.” “Plus, the Insomnia cookies were incredible!” added Aysha.

Dr. Joshua King taught a special session of his English class on Hamilton: An American Musical, engaging Banneker students in a group project about how they might creatively reinterpret history. “I felt like there would be no restrictions on authentic learning,” said Bintou Tunkara after King’s class. And Elaine Merino added that “Dr. King destroyed the stereotype that college professors are only interested in research… from his brief lecture, I could sense his deep love of teaching and his students." King also gave the students a tour of the Communication Center, which particularly impressed Demontae Barrino, who was enthusiastic that Georgia Tech students can receive professional tutoring.

During a pizza lunch, the students were welcomed by LMC Chair Richard Utz and four undergraduate students who spoke honestly about the challenges and rewards of college (Trey Smith, Preston Smith, Andreas Ward, and Suin Yun). Four faculty also shared their different course designs (John Browning, Michael Griffin, Owen Cantrell, and Monica Miller) and answered questions. Six undergraduate students (Laura Heller, Denny Lee, Hannah Lee, Colton Mack, Maggie Royal, and Diana Toro) gave campus tours. Throughout the day, Banneker students demonstrated what universities hope to develop in their top students: the ability to bring innovation to projects, express their ideas across a range of communication modes, and take genuine pleasure in finding things out.

The collaboration between Banneker High School and Georgia Tech arose from the friendship of Banneker Principal Dr. Duke Bradley and Brittain Fellow Sarah Higinbotham through their involvement in Leadership Atlanta. 2016 Fishman Prize-winning Banneker teacher, Matthew Patterson, worked closely with Sarah to plan the visit, including hosting her to teach his AP classes earlier in February.

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