Monday, April 1, 2013

Preppin for the ACTs

Do you remember taking your ACT? I do.

Even though it was well over a decade ago, I still remember the pressure to do well. I had prepped my heart out-- taken prep courses, bonded with my Princeton Review ACT prep book and become an expert at complicated analogy questions.

Remember, if WATER: OCEAN then SAND: ?? 

Yeah. Ick.

The ACTs loom again for local high school students and our Salvation Army North Mabee Boys & Girls Club is a beacon for college-bound teens hoping to get a little edge on the test.

Since 1994, with funding help from various community partners, including most recently the Felix Jones Foundation, the North Mabee Club has offered, for free, an 8 week ACT preparation course for area high school students. Students come from miles around and from nearly every high school in the area to take advantage of this prep course.

I visited the North Mabee Club on a recent Tuesday evening and chatted with Mr. Nathaniel Smith, a retired teacher who runs a tight ship in his ACT course; Mr. Smith has been directing the course for the past 3 years.

He showed me the sign-in sheet and sure enough, there were 19 students in attendance, from all over the Metro; students from East Central, Booker T. Washington, Nathan Hale, Memorial and even Union High schools. There where 9th & 10th graders getting a jump on what continues to be the baseline for whether or not a student will get into college. There were also 11th and 12th graders buckled down, chasing another point, the make-it-or-break-it on possible college scholarships.

The prep class meets 3 evenings a week; the first 2 weeks are spent on pre-testing; the middle 4 on subject matter, with sessions taught by teachers, and the final 2 weeks on post-testing.

Jo Bright, North Mabee Club Director says,

"The greatest benefit [to offering this program] has been the ability to help kids enter college.  We know for a fact that many of these kids would not have made it to college without this assistance."

Good luck on the upcoming tests, guys! Keep working on those analogies and you'll do great!


How can you get involved? For after school and evening tutoring opportunities, contact our volunteer coordinator, Jenny McElyea at 918-587-7801 or

Or to donate directly to this program, contact Director of Development Lindsay Sparks at 918-587-7801 or

And if you know of a high schooler who could benefit from this program next time it's offered, please share!

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