"We just help out with every little project we can," said senior Shelby Purdy. "It's really rewarding to know we've actually made a difference. And, to see the reaction of other people to what we've done, it makes it even better."
Purdy has been involved with the program at Peru High School since its inception and has mentored a young girl for the past two years, helping her through the transition from middle school to high school.
"It can be hard, it can be scary," Purdy said of entering high school, "but with someone there for her it seemed to make it easier for her."
The other aspect of the CFES program Purdy said she enjoys is the emphasis on getting students introduced to colleges as soon as possible. Already, Purdy has joined her fellow students in the program for tours of Clinton Community College and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. The campus tours have helped her reaffirm her desire to be a registered nurse - now it's just choosing which college she will attend.
"It was really nice that we could take the tours through the school [arranging them]," said Purdy. "Instead of having to miss school for college visits, it's the school that's taking you. It's more comfortable in that setting."
CFES program director Steve Boyce, who met with the students during the kick-off celebration, said he was glad to continue the program's partnership with the Peru school district.
"There's so much misinformation about college," said Boyce, "especially for parents who might be the first in their family to consider going to college, and that's one of the things we really work on. We want them to understand financial aid and to get the kids to visit enough colleges to see the choices that are out there - some which are a lot cheaper than others."
"We want them to be successful in college, and kids who see themselves as leaders are more likely to be successful in college," he added.
For more information about CFES, visit the organization's Web site at www.collegefes.org.