Skip to main content

Summer of Success: Young inquiring minds learn about God’s creation — and college

The Summer of Success: Students from the Carolina School for Inquiry pose with CIU incoming freshmen, Academic Success Center staff, and College of Education professors. (Photo by Noah Allard)

June 20, 2024

By Bob Holmes

Could you pass this true/false test about nature?

  1. Statement: Pesticides stay in the food chain.

 Or how about this statement?

  1. Purple loosestrife is native to South Carolina.

Or maybe this one:

  1. Kudzu came to the United States from Europe.

If you answered:

  1. True
  2. False
  3. False

then you are as smart as a fifth grader.

The test represents just a sampling of what nearly three dozen K-6 grade students from the Carolina School for Inquiry learned on the Columbia International University campus during the “Summer of Success” week hosted by the CIU Academic Success Center and the College of Education.

Freshmen and Four-Year-Olds

In its second year, the Summer of Success included a morning session for 25 incoming CIU freshmen and transfer students who were prepped on how to get ready for college. They joined in as assistants for the afternoon session with the School for Inquiry, guiding the children as young as four through nature oriented-games and nature walks with the biblical theme:

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Gen. 1:31a)

“Our purpose is to help them have a really cool experience on our college campus,” said Lisa Lanpher, director of the Academic Success Center as she sat near an active nature game being played in the CIU Quad. “We want them to come to college, remember that it was a place where they were loved (and) they had fun –.”  That’s when Lanpher’s thoughts were interrupted by a scream of happy excitement from one of the students playing a game where some of the students were wolves and some were rabbits — a lesson on predators and the prey.   

“A lot of our objective is to get them thinking about college for their future,” said Lanpher as she finally had an opportunity to finish her thought.

Inquiring Minds

Sitting nearby was Carolina School for Inquiry Assistant Principal Dr. Kimberly Harrison who said what her students were experiencing fits with her school’s mission.

“They’re exploring, they’re doing discovery … collaborating and building relationships with others,” Harrison said. “It promotes respect for self and others, and also the world because in turn, we are making the world a better place!”

Meanwhile on the other side of the Fisher Building, a younger group of students were on a “nature hike,” touching the trees and grass in front of Shortess Chapel as they learned about textures in nature. One tiny little girl picked up a stick.

“It feels like hard,” she said, describing it to her Summer of Success teacher, CIU alumna Katie Mayberry. “It’s smooth and it cannot break,” she added with confidence.

The Gospel  

With children scurrying at his feet during an air-conditioned indoor snack break, incoming freshman Matthias Crone of Pennsylvania was among those assisting with the children as part of the Summer of Success.

“It’s fun to be able to spend time with them and teach them everything in nature,” Crone said, adding that it’s also helping the children see a little of what college is like, “and how we’re getting ready for our future, and they are getting ready for their future as they grow older.”

Back on the Quad, Lanpher noted one very important part of the Summer of Success this year was a gospel message from a CIU upperclassman, “because we thought it would really be good coming from a college student.”

“I’m so thrilled at what God is doing and giving these young people a chance to be poured into and pour into others,” Lanpher added. “I think that is a really good model for them.”                                                

Higher learning. Deeper faith. A Christ-centered community on campus and online. Apply now or request information on enrollment at CIU by contacting Admissions at (803) 807-5024 or                                                                                                                                           

Are you ready to transform your life?