Trinity freshmen invited to attend Lott Institute
NATCHEZ — Trinity Episcopal Day School students Cole Mosby and Hannah Fitt were just like any other University of Mississippi students for three weeks this summer.
The Trinity freshmen stayed in the dormitories on campus, ate lunch at the student union and even played ultimate Frisbee at The Grove.
The only difference between Mosby, Fitt and any other incoming students was a few years in age.
Mosby and Fitt, 14, were among 80 students from across the state who participated in the Lott Leadership Institute for Rising Ninth Graders program at the University of Mississippi.
The program is designed to develop critical thinking and leadership skills in soon-to-be- high school freshmen in hopes those students will return to their schools and put the new skills to work for the betterment of the community.
From July 7 through 26, the Trinity students got a glimpse into college life as they walked to and from each class.
“I have a much better understanding of what college is going to be like when I go in four years,” Fitt said. “It’s a lot different than regular school.”
The students had to report to class each morning from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., which included a lunch break.
Mosby said a variety of topics were discussed in each class, ranging from literacy to obesity.
“We had to research and then debate whether we felt the first or second amendment was more important,” Mosby said. “I know guns are important to some people, but they’re not as important as free speech.”
The program gave Fitt an opportunity to discuss current events and participate in decision-making activities, while also having a bit of fun.
“I think we did almost 20 projects the whole time and had to do five projects in the first three days, so it was hard at times,” she said. “We even made a rap about a problem we thought needed to be addressed in the country.
“Our group picked smoking in public areas.”
Fitt’s rap, which was set to the instrumentals of Rihanna’s song, “Pour it up,” gave her group an opportunity to discuss a serious issue in an interesting way, she said.
“We had the beat going, and we wrote our own lyrics to go with it,” Fitt said. “It went something like, ‘I’m over here trying to eat my meal and you still got me choking.’
“It was a really fun project.”
When the students weren’t in class, Mosby said they were just like any other college students — only a few years younger.
“You could go play ultimate Frisbee at The Grove or go to the recreation center and play basketball or whatever you wanted to do,” Mosby said. “It was actually like college life.”
The students also took a trip to Jackson one weekend to tour the state Capitol and governor’s mansion.
Mosby and Fitt said their favorite part of the trip was getting to interact with other students their age from across the state.
“I made lifelong friends there that I know I’ll always keep in touch with,” Fitt said. “It was a great experience.”