Gordon Salutes Incoming Sophomores with Moving Up Program

Senior Princess Clark will address sophomores in You Made It! Moving Up Program
Senior Princess Clark will address sophomores in You Made It! Moving Up Program

Senior Business Administration and Computer Science Major Princess Clark plans to encourage Gordon State College’s sophomore class with her message of resilience. Clark, whose first name means resilience, is one of several speakers lined up for the You Made It! Moving Up Program which begins virtually May 4.

“The ability to make a comeback when things are looking bad exhibits growth of character and determination,” Clark said. “Remember that you are the only person in control of your success. You should all be proud of how much you’ve accomplished thus far and I wish you all the best on your educational journey.”

Professor of English Dr. Stephen Raynie is the FIRE coordinator for Gordon. All first-year students take FIRE 1000 (Freshman Introduction to Reasoning Essentials), a two-credit core curriculum class which fosters productive academic mindsets, helps establish critical thinking skills and supports students as they encounter challenges associated with a transition to college-level work. Invitations for the sophomore induction program were sent to all students who participated in the FIRE courses.

From 2017 to 2019, Raynie served as the coordinator for the Gordon Access Program through Fort Valley State University. During that time, he started the Moving Up Ceremony, which was a success.

“I was amazed,” Raynie said of the initial experience for the sophomore induction program. “ I didn’t think people would cry, but they did. They  also invited their parents. I wanted to bring this transformational experience to Gordon State. Making it this far is a milestone.”

Raynie decided to apply the concept for the Gordon campus, with the revised title: You Made It! Moving Up Program to help officially mark the transition from freshman to sophomore year for students.

“I wanted to book end our New Student Orientation, which starts the onboarding,” Raynie said. “There is a lot of research that shows significant development and confidence from freshman to sophomore year. Students are more sure of what they want to do. If they make it through the freshman year, they are likely to graduate.”

The ceremony was scheduled on campus to honor the achievement before the COVID-19 pandemic and has shifted to a virtual format through Brightspace D2L for students to participate as an alternative way to celebrate the milestone. 

President Kirk A. Nooks will address the sophomores as well as the dean of each school and Clark. Clark plans to introduce the Highlander Pledge, which is a dedication to the high principles of intellectual and character development defined in the Highlander EDGE as students strive for self-improvement as an engaged innovator, a dedicated scholar, a gifted communicator, and an ethical leader.

Dr. J. Xavier Carteret is a lecturer in music at Gordon and director of choral music. He will sing Gordon’s Alma Mater on video and will encourage the sophomore participants to sing it, record it and upload it as a submission for the singing contest as part of the program. The winner for the Alma Mater singing contest will be announced in mid May. 

At the completion of the program, students will be able to complete and download certificate along with the Highlander Pledge. For Fall Semester 2020, each school plans to have a welcome back party for sophomores, which provides an opportunity for students to meet upper-level students, join clubs and meet with faculty in their majors.