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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education

Last modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

School of Education students at IUPUI expose teens to college, work on goals

Student group's brings community center youth together with secondary education students

July 16, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A student group at the Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI is spending a couple months this summer working with Indianapolis youth to help them see college as an achievable goal.

Urban Educators

Indianapolis high school students learn about working together during an IUPUI School of Education program.

The "Summer Civic Program" is the creation of the Secondary Urban Educators (SUE) student organization. SUE members started working with teens from the Hawthorne Community Center last month and conclude their summer program this week. Throughout the program, teens learned about the IUPUI campus and specific schools, including the Schools of Education, Informatics and Nursing.

"The premise behind the program is that we bring inner-city youth to our campus here, get them used to the campus and allow them to see that there are people just like them on this campus," said Shannon White-Huckstep, vice president of SUE. "If this is a goal of theirs, we show them it's achievable for them."

As part of uncovering higher education possibilities, SUE members are also working with the participants on setting goals and determining how to reach them. Participants put those goals in writing, then identified obstacles to reaching them. During their last visit, Hawthorne teens actually ran an obstacle course, which included crab-walking while keeping an egg balanced on their chest. To win the obstacle race, students had to work together, a point of discussion afterwards.

"Just a simple obstacle course can relate to their lives," said Daniel Kimbley, a SUE member. "They're learning a lot about working together as teams. They must take a role as a leader."

To demonstrate the importance of teamwork, in another game the Hawthorne teens had to pass a ping-pong ball to each other using no hands -- only the cut half of a potato chip can -- until they reached a cup at the end of the room. After one round, they had to participate in another without speaking to each other. Then they had to do the same activity using a softball.

"Doing activities like this is just a way for them to participate in more abstract activities that have obstacles and then help them identify those," said White-Huckstep. "And they can then relate it back to their own lives, and we talk about their own goals and their own ambitions."

The SUE group members are focused on working with urban youth, a teaching mission defined by the IU School of Education at IUPUI's location in downtown Indianapolis. SUE President Amanda Masterson said the group's members want to help these students of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) overcome the perception that they won't achieve a higher education degree. IPS high school graduation rates are below 50 percent.

"They have to define themselves as who they are and what they do and what they contribute to the community, as opposed to what other people say or define them as," Masterson said.

The summer program also gives the SUE members valuable teaching experience that requires them to call upon skills learned in the classroom at IUPUI.

"As an education major, this gives me an opportunity to practice what I've been learning throughout the year," White-Huckstep said. "This is definitely a challenge for the education students because it takes us out of that more formal [classroom] setting."

Kimbley said the program is a nice complement to his coursework. "It really gives us an emphasis on focusing on students from the inner city atmosphere."

About SUE
The Secondary Urban Educators organization is open to all students of the IU School of Education at IUPUI enrolled in the secondary education program. The membership is dedicated to issues relating to urban education in Indianapolis, developing connections within urban schools and helping urban schools with projects.

Learn more about the Summer Civic Program and meet the SUE members on the IU School of Education Podcast Page at The video is also available on the IU School of Education page on YouTube, at