KIPP Delta High School visits history department

The Delta State University Division of Social Sciences and History hosted over 40 students from the KIPP Delta Collegiate High School from Helena, Ark. today.

The KIPP model — Knowledge Is Power Program — is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and life.

The school reached out to Delta State hoping to expose students to history classes at the university, and the department proudly gave them a taste of academics on campus.

“We wanted to go all out after KIPP contacted us about the visit,” said Dr. Ethan Schmidt, assistant professor of history. “These are local students and we wanted to give them a nice introduction to Delta State. Maybe when they’re applying to colleges they’ll reflect on their visit and think about the great things our university has to offer.”

The morning began with a breakfast on arrival, followed by a warm welcome from faculty and administration from the social sciences and history department and President William N. LaForge.

“We are very impressed you are here today and showing interest in Delta State as your possible university of choice,” LaForge told the group. “Our goal, from the day you step foot on this campus, is to cultivate you through the process to graduation. I want to be the guy that hands you the diploma.”

The students spent the rest of the day getting a firsthand experience of college life. They were invited to attend actual history courses and sit among current Delta State students in classes that covered topics such as world history, U.S. history since 1877 and modern France. History chair Dr. Chuck Westmoreland provided a special lecture on the Civil War, available only to visiting students.

David O’Donnell, KIPP history teacher, was thrilled to enrich his students with the Delta State experience.

“For a lot of our students, they are first generation college students,” said O’Donnell. “The more opportunities they get to go to colleges and see what different colleges are like – that’s really important for making sure they’ll go to college after high school. We are thankful to be at Delta State today and learn more about this institution.”

Students were also treated to a lunch and meet-and-great session with faculty and admissions staff at the student union.

To learn more about KIPP Delta Collegiate High School, visit



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