COOL Program

  “College Offers Opportunities for Life”

Beginning in the 2007-2008 school year, Abilene Education Foundation placed a full-time college advisor at each AISD high school campus to work in conjunction with high school counselors. Generously funded by the Shelton Family Foundation, these advisors assist students who are underserved or who will be the first in their families to attend college. They also help students with financial aid, college applications, and college visits.

 

With the help of the Dian Graves Owen Foundation, in the fall of 2012, the COOL Program was able to expand the services offered to AISD by hiring two additional college advisors.

Please read more about our amazing 2015-2016 school year in our COOL Annual Report.

 (please be patient, the report is very large and can take a minute to download)

College advisors provide the following services:

  • Help students register for college entrance exams (SAT/ACT), including providing fee waivers, when applicable
  • Assist students in completing college applications
  • Guide students toward making realistic, attainable post-secondary goals, particularly regarding college selection
  • Assist students in applying for financial aid through completion of the FAFSA, including hosting FAFSA workshop nights on each campus
  • Help students to access and apply for scholarships
  • Assist students in crafting the college essay and collaborate with English teachers on essay topics
  • Meet with parents to share information about colleges and the college admissions process
  • Host college admissions representatives on the high school campus and take students on guided tours of various college campuses
  • Establish and maintain relationship with admissions and financial aid departments of colleges
  • Facilitate summer Application Camp for incoming seniors
  • Encourage and support students through the college experience
  • Provide interactive workshops and classroom presentations to classrooms at all levels, from elementary through high school
  • Conduct 5th grade pep rallies on elementary campuses
  • Sponsor a Leadership Retreat for 8th graders

Letter from the COOL Team

Over the past year, the COOL Team has played a supporting role in the stories of triumph, celebration, courage and hope of our students. Their stories have evoked excitement, laughter, tears, and compassion in all of us. It’s the stories of perseverance – like that of LeAndra Middleton, a 2013 Abilene High School graduate, who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to chase after her college dreams – that stir us to press onward toward our goals in the COOL Program. LeAndra’s mother was 13 when LeAndra was born, and they grew up together. LeAndra helped raise her younger siblings and had to take on many adult responsibilities at a young age. These were the odds that were stacked against LeAndra. But the odds didn’t win. LeAndra emerged the victor over her circumstances, as she has completed her first semester of nursing school, a dream she has had since high school. As a first-generation student who walked into the COOL Program in 2012, she has left a lasting impression on the hearts of all the COOL Counselors and has introduced her younger siblings to the program, paving the way for them and insisting that they follow in her footsteps. It’s witnessing and partaking in stories of growth – like that of Joselin Alfaro, who entered the COOL Program as a shy, reserved young lady with unwavering determination to go to college in 2011 – that spurs us on to provide the highest quality services possible to our students. Over the past four years of her journey, Joselin has blossomed into a bold, confident woman who has apprehended one of her most precious life dreams by graduating from college in 2015! Our COOL students have a story to tell! And, so do we! We are excited to share our story with you. This past year, the COOL Team served over 600 students, presented multiple middle school and underclassmen workshops, hosted the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling Workshop in West Texas, attended the National Association for College Admission Counseling National Convention, and increased the number of FAFSA workshops offered in AISD, alongside McMurry University and Hardin-Simmons University financial aid experts. We hope you take the time to read our stories of adventure, celebration, growth, collaboration, impact, generosity, accomplishment, and gratitude as they shine light on the joy we experience every day from working with these amazing young people. Their stories are still being written and it is our honor to help them write it.

AEF College Advisors

 

Amanda Wiskow
C.O.O.L. Program Co-Coordinator/College Advisor
325-677-1444 x1736
amanda.wiskow@abileneisd.org

 

LaQuiera Gantt
Cooper High School
C.O.O.L. Program Co-Coordinator/College Advisor
Room 103
325-691-1000 x7871
laquiera.gantt@abileneisd.org

Dustin West
ATEMS/Woodson Center for Excellence
IT Coordinator/College Advisor
325-677-1444 x5723
robert.west@abileneisd.org

Hannah Holmes-0926

Hannah Holmes
Abilene High School
College Advisor
Room 228
325-677-1731 x1808
hannah.holmes@abileneisd.org