TERRE HAUTE —
Josh Eberg didn’t take high school too seriously and graduated with about a 2.3 grade-point average.
“I never really did my work,” he said.
So when he wanted to enroll at Indiana State University, he first had to participate in its LEAP summer bridge program, which lasts three weeks and provides instruction in basic skills needed to succeed in college.
Not only did he meet the requirements to continue at ISU, the freshman from Franklin earned a 3.62 grade-point this past fall, his first semester at ISU.
The LEAP program, and those who staffed it, helped him realize “I needed to push myself so I can do what I want to do when I get out of college,” Eberg said. Also, he realized, he’d be wasting a lot of money at any college if he didn’t apply himself.
Eberg, a criminology major, was one of many students honored Wednesday during ISU’s Center for Student Success 2014 Awards Ceremony at Hulman Memorial Student Union. Eberg’s parents watched as he received a certificate of academic excellence.
“We’re very proud of him. He’s worked very hard,” said his mom, April Barber. “I think he found his own.”
Freshmen and sophomores were recognized for academic excellence, including those who achieved a GPA of 3.5 to 3.99 and others who achieved a 4.0. They included LEAP students and 21st Century Scholars.
Other students received “Blue Leaf” awards based on academic achievement, participation in Center for Student Success programs and other criteria that included community service and involvement in campus organizations.
The center’s other programs include tutoring, student support services, first-generation faculty mentoring and athletic studies.
Some of those honored “were among our most at-risk” students, said Josh Powers, ISU associate vice president for student success. They have shown great achievement academically and personally “when by traditional assumptions they might not have been expected to” do so well, he said.
The Center for Student Success on campus serves all students through academic counseling, mentoring and tutoring.
Another LEAP student recognized for academic excellence was Trent Andrews, a freshman from Blanford. He achieved a 3.7 GPA last semester.
In high school, his GPA up until his senior year was about 1.8 and then he realized he had to start applying himself. He worked hard to bring it up to about a 2.3 or 2.4, but still had to participate in LEAP to enter ISU. The program “offered me an opportunity to kind of redeem myself,” he said.
His success has motivated him to keep working hard, he said. Andrews realizes “I can go as far as I want to go.”
Also honored for academic accomplishment was Shanice Jones, a freshman from Indianapolis and LEAP student who achieved a 3.5 grade-point last semester. Her grades in high school “were really awful,” and her priorities did not include studying, she said.
When she started applying to colleges her senior year, she realized her grades “did matter.”
She wasn’t too excited about participating in the LEAP program, which was during the summer before fall term, but she’s glad she did. “It really helped. You really had to do the work,” she said. “It was really tough.”
It paved the way for success last fall.
A communication major, Jones is interested in being a radio broadcaster “or anything that has to do with broadcasting or communications.”
Watching her receive her academic excellence certificate was her dad, Jerry Jones, and her brother, Javen.
“I think it’s great,” her dad said. “I knew she could do it.”
During the program, Powers told award recipients, “You deserve to be here and no one can take that away from you. You saw a goal, you saw it was challenging, you embraced it and you achieved. We believed that about you from day one, and that’s why we admitted you.”
Powers told them their success is due to the support of others and he encouraged them to provide that same support to those who need it.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.