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updated: 2/6/2012 12:40 AM

Taste of College for eighth-graders at Gurnee schools

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Submitted by Woodland Elementary District 50

A collaborative program that began between Gurnee-based schools and businesses has launched it sixth year.

Designed for eighth-graders, the Business and Education Partners Program is hosting the Taste of College. The idea is to provide students with an opportunity to take classes and be exposed to area colleges in Lake County.

Gurnee Chamber of Commerce and Lake County Chamber of Commerce collaborated with Woodland Elementary District 50, Gurnee Elementary District 56, and Warren Township High School District 121 -- along with area colleges and universities -- in a partnership to support and promote public education.

Business and Education Partners Program was formed with a charge to enhance school/community relations through the support and partnership of area business leaders.

Taste of College is especially beneficial to eighth-grade students who could be the first in their families planning advancement to higher education.

Four Taste of College sessions have been planned for February. Participating institutions include College of Lake County, DeVry University, Robert Morris University and University Center.

"We believe students will benefit not only from the educational opportunities being offered, but from the enrichment of interacting with fellow students and college instructors while truly experiencing a feel for college life," said Lewis Zanon, center dean for DeVry University.

Taste of College offerings will include medical imaging, nursing, directions in business and the power of technology.

The program will conclude Feb. 22 with a reception for participating students and their parents following the final class. The reception, with food and drink provided by local businesses, will be held at Warren's O'Plaine Road campus for freshmen and sophomores.

On that evening, Warren's staff will provide eighth-graders with an early look at high school life. Information for parents on continuing education/GED programs will be available.