The CAP and GOWN Project seeks to provide transformative opportunities for underrepresented secondary school students in Huntsville, AL who wish to pursue college. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides our students in Huntsville with opportunities to tour colleges, work to improve their ACT scores, and engage in STEM education through our programs led by the amazing teachers in Huntsville City Schools. As a result of these efforts, a new community of college-bound leaders will emerge.
What is an "underrepresented student"? Our programs are geared towards students who are not adequately represented on college campuses throughout the United States: first-generation college students, students from low-income homes, and students who represent certain racial and ethnic minority groups. Specifically, we invite students who fit the above criteria, who attend Title I schools in Huntsville, or who qualify for free- and reduced-lunch at our partner schools to apply for our programs.
During the 2013-2014 school year, teachers from J.O. Johnson High School – a Title I school in the Huntsville City Schools district – decided to take their students on college tours. After successful trips to Nashville and Atlanta for over 40 students, 11 of the top performing freshmen were selected to visit colleges in the Northeast. In the planning of this Northeast college tour, the teachers sought to Create Academic Pathways and Guide Others Wherever Needed, and the CAP and GOWN Project was born. Not only did the teachers want to create these opportunities for their students, but they also wanted their students to do the same for their peers. Since those first college tours, Johnson students have visited over 70 college campuses through CAP and GOWN, the amount of college scholarship dollars has tripled for Johnson students, and the college matriculation rate for Johnson graduates has increased by over 600 percent. In our experience, empowering educators to facilitate opportunities for their own scholars is a sustainable and scalable model for student achievement.
Doug Martinson II
Attorney, Martinson & Beason, LLC
Founder and Former Executive Director
Executive Director, Domi Education
Partner, Eastside Partners
Recruitment Manager, Teach For America
Platform Architect, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Founder of STEM Summer Institute
Caroline Randall Williams
Writer in Residence at Fisk University