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S.Y. Scholars Program Kicks Off Symposium Tour at UVA - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

S.Y. Scholars Program Kicks Off Symposium Tour at UVA

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Charlottesville is the first stop for a group touring the country to talk about education reform.  

Teachers, administrators, and students from across central Virginia gathered at the University of Virginia Saturday to kick-off the discussion.  

The Lynchburg-based S.Y. Scholars Program brought together educators and politicians for Saturday's first symposium tour to share their experiences. Sixteen-year-old Benjamin Booker had trouble in the classroom - until he found the S.Y. Scholars Program.

"I just wasn't a good student in class, I never paid attention and I needed a mentor to help me."

Booker is one of 25 students involved in the college prep program that meets two Saturdays a month in Lynchburg.

"We come together as a family and we work on education, we do different events, sometimes we travel," said LeAnie Hall, a fellow S.Y. Scholar.

Saturday, the scholars group hosted a forum featuring policy-makers and educators - including UVA president Teresa Sullivan - who delivered the welcome address.

"We at the university can't have great students if there aren't great high school graduates and in turn we produce the teachers that are going to help produce those great graduates," Sullivan said. "So we like this opportunity to be together with this whole educational ecosystem and talk together about how we're related."

The speakers were followed by a panel discussion on reforming America's system of education.

"I think something that's really important in terms of education and education leadership is showing students what can be versus what exists," said Greene County Superintendent David Jeck.

Changing that typical classroom mind-set can create new opportunities for students like Booker.

"It's reaching out to kids like me, the kids that don't know what to do in a classroom who's been acting up and just bugging out in class and it just changes their life, like it changed mine," Booker said.

The tour will stop at other universities around the country in the coming weeks including Duke and Harvard.

The S.Y. Scholars Program hopes events like these will promote education reform.

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