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First graduating class of Rowan County Crosby Scholars

By Allana Ansbro

Published 10:00 am Friday, August 14, 2015

The Rowan County Crosby Scholars Community Partnership is a non-profit organization that helps public middle school and high school students in Rowan County prepare for the future.

Rowan Crosby Scholars has a big year ahead — this will be their first graduating class. There are more than 200 graduating seniors in the program this year.

The Crosby Scholars Community Partnership started in Rowan in January 2013. For the 2013-2014 school year, there were about 1,700 students who applied to the program. Last school year, there were around 2,300 students who applied. The organization expects participation to increase for this year and is expanding its office space.

Students can apply from the time they are in sixth grade to the time they are in 10th grade. Applications are being accepted this year from Aug. 15 to Oct. 1. Jennifer Canipe, executive director at Crosby Scholars, elaborated on some of the requirements for the program. She explained that students are required to attend academies, volunteer for two hours of community service, maintain good citizenship within their school, keep at least a 2.0 grade point average and have a random drug screen in high school.

Canipe explained that they begin with middle schoolers and work to “emphasize choices and consequences and how they can impact their future” in college and a career.

Once students are in the eighth grade, they attend college tours with Crosby Scholars. Canipe said that they recently took a tour of Livingstone College and visited Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and sat in on some classes. Rowan Crosby Scholars works hard, she said, to get its middle schoolers exposed to college and show them its importance for a future career. There are a series of academies middle schoolers can attend such as note taking, personality types and transitioning to high school.

The seniors this year will begin having monthly one-on-one meetings with an adviser in September. “We walk them through the college admission process” and “consider it a capstone of the program,” said Canipe. She also said to help seniors choose a college they “look at the best match and fit for each student economically, academically and socially.”

The Crosby Scholars Last Dollar Grant is offered to seniors with financial need after filing their federal student aid forms. There will be an event called BBQ, Bands, and Boots to raise money for the grant that will be offered to eligible graduating students. Students are able to apply each year for up to $1,000 for up to four years.

“We’ve been blessed with community support” said Canipe. On May 1, 2016, Rowan Crosby Scholars will have a College Decision Day where they will have their first senior gala and announce the colleges the seniors will be attending.

“They talked to us about it and said that it was really helpful as far as getting you ready for college” he said. It was in a grade adviser meeting that an election was held for the Crosby Scholars student officers.

“I ran and won” said Bergstone. “I thought I could help them get organized.”

When asked if he would recommend the program to other students, Bergstone replied, “Definitely. It really helps out if you don’t know what you’re going to do for college.”

As a senior, Bergstone looks forward to “playing my last football game and getting to do everything one last time before we go to college.”

Crosby Scholars opens doors to college for students

By Jeanie Groh

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

College is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences a young adult can go through.

Sadly only 17 percent of Rowan County residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree, but Crosby Scholars of Rowan County is on a mission to ensure every public school student in the county has the opportunity to attend college.

“We want to end the cycle of poverty and we feel education is the means to be able to step out of that cycle,” said Executive Director Jennifer Cannipe.

The program is open to all Rowan-Salisbury sixth through 11thgrade students this year, and will expand to serve high school seniors as well next year with its first graduating class. Students must apply by the time they’re in 10th grade.

When Crosby Scholars of Rowan County started last school year, 1,734 students joined. This year, that number has almost doubled, with more than 2,300 participants. The program also employs five fulltime staff members

“We’re a college access program,” Cannipe said. “There’s so many layers to our program.”

All Crosby Scholars are required to maintain a 2.0 grade point average, participate in community service and attend academy workshops, where they learn skills such as note taking, anger management and standardized testing.

It all begins in middle school, when Crosby Scholars staff members work hard to introduce the idea of college and to stress the connection between the choices the students make now impact their future.

In high school, Crosby Scholars “molds our students into the most competitive college applicants they can be,” Cannipe said.

“The senior year is really the capstone of the program,” said Jessica Vess, program director for Crosby Scholars.

Beginning next year, the program will helps high school seniors through every step of the college process, from selecting colleges, to applications and essays to navigating financial aid.

Right now, they’re working with each of the program’s 250 rising seniors to create a profile of the students, including their goals, transcripts and activities.

Students will be paired with a volunteer mentor who will meet with them one-on-one each month to ensure they are on track and don’t slip through the cracks. They’ll discuss grades, application deadlines, essays, teacher recommendations and financial aid throughout the year.

This week, juniors from the Crosby Scholars program visited four North Carolina colleges. On Tuesday, they visited Wake Forest University in Winston Salem and North Carolina Central University in Durham. On Wednesday, they toured Lenior-Rhyne University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

According to Vess, they wanted to give the students a look at a wide variety of options, including public, private and historically black schools.

“This is a really great experience for students to go out to a school,” she said. “They get that tangible experience of walking the campus. You can’t get that from the website.”

“That’s a huge part of deciding,” she added.

While the students were at Wake Forest University, Allie Blum, a senior at the college, took them around campus, showing them different buildings and explaining how the admissions process works. She also told them about her own experiences as a student at Wake Forest.

Heidi Jaquez, a student a West Rowan High School, said she really enjoyed seeing Wake Forest University.

She added that the college’s test-optional admissions process was especially attractive to her.

“A lot of colleges ask for it (SAT or ACT score),” she said. “A lot of people aren’t good at tests.”

Crosby Scholar, Alex Yang earns Eagle

As a Boy Scout in Troop 443, Alex earned 23 Merit Badges and attended summer camps at Camp John J. Barnhardt and Camp Daniel Boone.

For his Eagle Scout service project, Alex planned and led the construction of the visitor dugout for the Salisbury High School softball field.

A junior at Salisbury High School, Alex participates in cross country, basketball, baseball, student government, Junior Civitan, Key Club, National Honor Society, Young Life, Latin Club, Crosby Scholars and is a charter member of Rowan County Student Leaders. He has attended Student Athlete Summer Institute at Elon University and Broyhill Leadership Conference at Wingate University.

As an active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, he is active in the youth group and has participated in a mission trip to Guatemala.

Alex is the son of Steve and Lori Yang of Salisbury

Crosby Scholar, Alex Yang earns Eagle

As a Boy Scout in Troop 443, Alex earned 23 Merit Badges and attended summer camps at Camp John J. Barnhardt and Camp Daniel Boone.

For his Eagle Scout service project, Alex planned and led the construction of the visitor dugout for the Salisbury High School softball field.

A junior at Salisbury High School, Alex participates in cross country, basketball, baseball, student government, Junior Civitan, Key Club, National Honor Society, Young Life, Latin Club, Crosby Scholars and is a charter member of Rowan County Student Leaders.

He has attended Student Athlete Summer Institute at Elon University and Broyhill Leadership Conference at Wingate University.

As an active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, he is active in the youth group and has participated in a mission trip to Guatemala.

Alex is the son of Steve and Lori Yang of Salisbury.

Crosby Scholars works with middle school students

By Staff Report

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 18, 2014

With more than 1,300 Rowan-Salisbury middle school students in the program this year, Crosby Scholars is finding creative ways to ensure each one has exposure to the idea of education beyond high school.

“Our biggest initiative this year has been to go into the Rowan-Salisbury middle schools and play ‘The Crosby Scholars Game of Life’ with all grade levels,” explains Jennifer Canipe, Crosby executive director.

“This game, developed by Program Director Jessica Vess and Program Coordinator Krystal Stukes, emphasizes the link between choices and consequences. Students are put into situations where they are able to make choices and then are able to experience how those decisions might affect their future,” she said.

“We want all of the students in middle school, not just Crosby Scholars, to understand the importance of trying academically. The study habits and work ethic our middle schoolers develop now will help determine their success in high school and beyond,” Canipe added.

Crosby Scholars is also committed to helping its students learn more about colleges and possible careers.

Along with Banicca Watkins and Emily Harrison from Communities in Schools and the faculty and staff at Knox Middle and North Rowan Middle schools, Stukes implemented College Week, which included each school’s very own college fair.

The emphasis for both College Weeks was on building a college-going culture, and included college door decorating contests, teachers wearing t-shirts from their alma maters, and a “favorite college” shirt day for students.

Livingstone College cheerleaders helped build the excitement by awarding the prizes for the contests.

“Only 17 percent of our population over the age of 25 in Rowan County has a bachelor’s degree,” explains Canipe. “We are constantly looking for ways to partner within our schools to introduce the concept of college and get our students excited about it.”

Another way Crosby Scholars is building enthusiasm is with field trips, which highlight different career options. This year, a group of eighth-graders from China Grove, Corriher-Lipe, and Southeast Middle Schools got to choose between a trip to learn about NASCAR careers and health science occupations.

The NASCAR exploration trip included a tour of NASCAR’s research and development facility in Concord and a tour of the motorsports facilities at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The students learned about the many opportunities ranging from higher educational careers such as engineering to technical careers as machinists and tire technicians.

They also watched a safety test being performed on seat belts. The motorsports facility at the University of North Carolina at Charoltte is one of the most innovative “hands-on” programs in the Southeast. While there, students were exposed to educational opportunities that would lead to careers in sports marketing or motorsports engineering.

At the Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, students learned about career opportunities in health science fields such as occupational therapy, medical assisting and nursing.

Hands-on activities for this group included working with life-like patients in a hospital simulation room and learning the appropriate way to enfold and sterilize surgical instruments. The educational path for each career was discussed and the many degree options offered at Cabarrus College of Health Sciences were reviewed.

“We’ve purposely tried to plan a college or career enrichment activity at each middle school this year,” Canipe explained. “We’ve got Erwin Middle and West Middle on our schedule for next semester and are looking into some exciting possibilities for these students. What we’re doing is laying the foundation for the college-going culture that we’re hoping to build here in Rowan County.”

More than 2,200 in Rowan Crosby Scholars

By Jeanie Groh

Published 1:47 am Thursday, October 16, 2014

In only its second year, more than 2,200 students have enrolled in Crosby Scholars in Rowan County. With students coming from every middle and high school in the Rowan-Salisbury School System, this year’s number represents an increase of more than 500 students over last year’s initial enrollment.

“We are excited that the program has grown in our second year,” said Jennifer Canipe, executive director. “We are especially pleased to have an increased number of middle school students this year because we can begin reinforcing the importance of the choices they are making, and how those choices will impact their futures – including their future college options.”

All Crosby Scholars attend grade-specific academies where they participate in academic and personal growth workshops. They are required to participate in and document their community service activities and are exposed to college campuses and career exploration. Crosby students are encouraged to maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and the students in grades nine, 10 and 11 sign an agreement that they will participate in a random drug-screening as part of the program.

The Rowan Crosby Scholars program helps students navigate the path to college and other post-secondary opportunities that are best suited to each student’s needs, aptitudes and dreams. Of the 1,805 students reporting, more than 57 percent of the enrolled Crosby Scholars will be first in their family to access college.

“Our hope is to build a college-going culture in Rowan County. The Crosby program will guide students along the path toward success beginning in sixth grade, and provide grade level-specific information to help each one reach his or her lifelong dreams and goals,” Canipe said.

Upcoming events for Crosby Scholars include ninth- and 10th-grade academy workshops as well as a free “First Generation” college film to be shown at Catawba College on Nov. 13.

For more information about the Rowan County Crosby Scholars program, its mission and how to become involved, contact the office at 704-762-3512, or go to the organization’s website at

Crosby Scholars ninth and 10th grade academies

Crosby Scholars is holding the first of three academies for ninth- and 10th-grade students who are in the program this Saturday at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

Students will select two workshops from a variety of topics that will focus on personal and academic skills. These skills help increase the potential for success in high school and college. Attending one academy is a program requirement.

Check-in will be at 9 a.m., and the academy will last until 11:45 a.m. No food will be provided. Students must stay for the entire academy and submit an attendance sheet to receive credit for this program requirement. Students can register online through their student portal at

Additional ninth- and 10th-grade academies are Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 at Rowan-Cabarrus.

For those who need a ride to the academy, a bus is available from certain high school campuses. If transportation is an obstacle, select the academy date that offers the bus stop closest to you.

On Oct. 18, the bus service will be from West Rowan High School. Nov. 1, the bus service will be at Carson High School and East Rowan High School. Nov. 15, the bus will run from North Rowan High School. Pick-up from the high schools is at 8:30 a.m. Parents should pick up students from those schools at noon.

For more information about Crosby Scholars and academies, visit or call 704-762-3512.

Service Above Self awards

The Rowan County United Way and the Rowan Rotary Club are looking for young people between the ages of 5 and 18 as individuals or groups who value service to others.

Individual awards are as follows: first place, $500; second place, $200; and third place, $100. Each prize will be divided evenly between the winners and their schools.

Groups and organizations will receive $500 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place.

Nominations for the annual Service Above Self Youth Awards are due by Nov. 14. Applications are available at the Rowan County United Way office and online at For more information, call 704-633-1802.

Grade advisers help Crosby Students prep for college

By Staff Report

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SALISBURY — Allison Doby is not only a guidance counselor at West Rowan High School, she is also the school’s Crosby Scholar Grade Adviser. The grade adviser program uses volunteers who hold meetings to help high school students focus on preparing for college.

“Grade adviser meetings have been a great opportunity for students to learn more about the college planning process in a relaxed setting,” Doby explains. “Students receive in-depth college information and seem comfortable asking questions and seeking advice.” Amanda Turner, a guidance counselor and Crosby grade adviser at East Rowan High School agrees. “The grade adviser meetings have allowed me to connect with students in a way that I am not often able to do as a counselor, due to time constraints,” she says, “I appreciate that Crosby Scholars is a program designed to simply facilitate each individual tapping into what is best about them and then to eventually put his or her best foot forward on whatever path they choose after high school.”

After retiring from Rowan-Salisbury Schools last summer, Lyn Wilson, North Rowan’s grade adviser, began looking into community volunteer opportunities. Her desire to continue as an advocate for young people led her to choose to work with Crosby Scholars. “I wanted to help support young people and focus on their prospects to continue education after high school,” she says. “As a grade adviser, I work with a Crosby staff member and meet with the ninth and 10th grade groups once a month. Each meeting encourages our students to make the most of high school, thus laying a strong foundation for college and beyond,” Wilson says. “Developing within them a “mindset” for college is the goal.”

Although not mandatory for students to attend, grade adviser meetings help high school students in the Crosby program examine their college and career options. With adult advisers volunteering in each of the Rowan-Salisbury high schools, four grade-wide meetings are held from November to April.

During those meetings, students are challenged to think about their futures. “The purpose of the grade adviser meetings is twofold — to put students on the path to making the best choice they can in terms of a college match,” says Jennifer Canipe, Crosby executive director, “and to help each student be the most competitive college applicant he or she can be.”

This fall, Crosby Scholars will add 11th graders to its student pool and the junior grade adviser meetings will become more focused on narrowing down college choices. “Our grade adviser program is fundamental to working toward our mission to prepare our students for successful college enrollment,” says Canipe. “We want our students to approach their futures full of hope and with the confidence of knowing they are well prepared for life after high school.”