Craig Middle School students inspired to dream bigger after talk by Harvard student |

Craig Middle School students inspired to dream bigger after talk by Harvard student

Sasha Nelson
Moffat County High School class of 2016 graduate Morgan Lawton is in her first year at Harvard University. Back in Craig for winter break, she spoke with students at Craig Middle School Monday about what it takes to get into college as part of Harvard University's return to middle school program.
Sasha Nelson

— Moffat County 2016 graduate Morgan Lawton spent time with Craig Middle School students Monday, teaching them how to get into schools like Harvard University where she currently attends college.

“I was thinking about cosmetology and counseling, that kind of stuff, but now I might think about going for a bigger degree and dreaming bigger,” said eighth-grader Kimber Wheeler.

Before returning to Craig for winter break, Lawton joined about 50 volunteers receiving special training to present talks as part of Harvard’s “Return to Middle School” program, aiming to inspire middle school students to consider their futures.

“I feel like there is a stigma in Craig that you can’t ever leave or go to great colleges so I wanted to advocate for that,” Lawton said. “There are more options than the few well known colleges in our area.”

Lawton’s talk inspired eighth-grade student Lauren Hilley who is thinking about attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication through Arizona State University to become a journalist.

“I thought it was really interesting that it doesn’t matter where you are from or your background, you can go anywhere you want if you have enough dedication,” Hilley said.

Lawton also answered questions about college life.

“The student that asked about intellectual diversity surprised me. With so many countries represented and all walks of life there definitely is more diversity,” she said. “I’m meeting people from all over the world, getting to see different stories, cultures and all. You learn so much about people, politics and morality. I’m starting to define myself more.”

CMS Principal Dave Grabowski was excited to have Lawton speak to the students who soon will work on their Individual College Academic Plans or ICAP.

The ICAP helps students better understand their individual learning styles, interests and what jobs might best match their interests.

“These plans follow them from middle school all the way through high school,” Grabowski said.

Lawton’s talk helped Wheeler to better understand the purpose of thinking about college early.

“The ICAP we will do has been a tedious chore, but relating it to how she got to Harvard and how much she worked in school, she’s an inspiration,” Wheeler said. “It was extremely inspirational. Taking time out of her schedule and talking to us helped a lot of us take a different outlook at going to college and getting a degree.”

The Colorado State Board of Education mandates that schools provide the ICAP program. And middle school counselor Lara Sigmon is responsible for preparing materials for teachers to use for grades six to eight.

“I think that it gives students a bigger umbrella. It makes them look farther than Craig, Colorado,” she said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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