Greetings, colleagues! My name is Deandra Smith, and I am the Associate Director of Post-Secondary Success at DC Preparatory Academy. I am also a new PCACAC member, and am honored to have attended this year’s Summer Institute (SI) as a grant recipient.
My time at SI was nothing short of amazing. I had an opportunity to connect with so many new colleagues, both new and seasoned professionals, as well as had an opportunity to visit the beautiful Roanoke College. The presenters provided excellent, useful content, and they were also well-prepared and beautifully executed their ideas. One of my favorite sessions included, “Decisions, Decisions—the Subjective Nature of College Admissions.” During this session, I learned about the NCACAC State of College Admissions’ List, specifically in regards to what colleges are looking for in a student’s application. I also had the opportunity to read a few applications during that time, and to share my thoughts about which of two students would be accepted into William and Mary. Reading two applications in about 20 minutes proved to be very stressful, and it made me even more appreciative of our admissions colleagues around the country!
I must admit that the Vice President of Roanoke, Brenda Porter Poggendorf’s, keynote speech about not being as focused on a student’s final destination, as we are with their journey, was very intriguing and touching. One quote in particular, “It’s okay for students to take an untraditional route,” caused me to deeply reflect, to take a step back, and to reconsider the ways in which I engage students. My goal is to intentionally empower students as they navigate the murky waters of young adulthood. There are so many life-long lessons that I will have the opportunity to experience with my students, and I am so thankful to be a part of their journey.
Overall, I had such a positive experience attending Summer Institute, and look forward to attending additional events in the future as I glean knowledge from my colleagues. I would like to personally thank all of the faculty, staff and committee chairs for planning a wonderful conference. I will certainly cherish my time at PCACAC, and the great thing is that this is just the beginning!