"The whole experience was eye-opening for our kids. They learned about a very different world. They loved Willsboro," said Delores Roberts, an educator from Harlem who chaperoned the Wadleigh students.
"It changed my view of so many things. It opened up a new world," said Ian from Wadleigh.
Promising an equally unforgettable experience, the Wadleigh students invited their Adirondack peers to the Big Apple in the spring. In April, nine Willsboro CFES Scholars and their two teacher-chaperones boarded the train for Penn Station and three days and two nights in New York City. From their hotel in the heart of Times Square, they could easily walk to most destinations, sightseeing along the way.
Up at five the first morning, the Willsboro students made it to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in time to be seen on the Today Show proudly displaying their CFES banner.
After breakfast they met up with their Wadleigh hosts and took their first-ever subway ride to the Manhattan borough of Harlem and the historic five-story school building that is home to Wadleigh's 600 students, grades 6-12. The Willsboro group was welcomed into the classrooms and later entertained by talented members of the school's performing arts group.
The friends had more time to reconnect during lunch and the walk through Harlem to another CFES school, P.S. 197. There they participated in an after-school service program, sharing their knowledge of college admissions and financial aid with fifth and sixth graders. The elementary students peppered the Willsboro visitors with questions about their school and various aspects of rural life, facts that the younger students found both fascinating and mystifying.
Dinner that night at MoBay, a restaurant in the heart of Harlem, gave the Willsboro Scholars a taste of southern food, jazz, and what the restaurant calls its "world famous barbecue."
Tuesday morning the group set off on a 20-block hike up Park Avenue to long-time CFES partner Hunter College. With 21,000 students, Hunter is the largest college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system and also one of the oldest public colleges in the country. The Willsboro students toured the campus and met with Kenney Robinson from the School of Education, who provided what one student described as "the most useful presentation I ever attended" on college success.