Leath urges students to seize college opportunity

Moulton-King schools celebration

President Steven Leath and State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad chat with a couple of students after the recognition ceremony. Photo by Bob Elbert.

"When you get your education, no one can take it away from you," president Steven Leath told an auditorium full of grade school students in Des Moines Tuesday. "You can do whatever you choose from there."


View the video on Iowa State's new opportunity for Moulton-King students.

The president followed up with a special invitation to the third through eighth graders at Moulton Extended Learning Center and King Elementary School. He encouraged them to take part in a new program that could earn them full-tuition scholarships to Iowa State.

Leath was the keynote speaker at a recognition ceremony honoring some 100 students who entered an essay contest celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Full-tuition scholarships 

Leath told the students the partnership program between their schools and Iowa State will be launched next year. The program is designed to take students through the steps and work needed for acceptance at Iowa State. Those who complete the program will receive full-tuition scholarships.

"There are thousands of students who have come through Iowa State University to achieve their dreams and we're going to make it easy for you to do," Leath told the students. "All you have to do is roll up your sleeves and work with your parents, your principals, your teachers to get this done."

Also attending the ceremony was State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, who Leath called the driving force in putting the program together.

Leath mentioned the partnership with the Des Moines schools several months ago during his presidential installation speech. The program, he said, aimed to increase the number of lower-income and minority students enrolling at Iowa State.

Moulton and King essayists

Moulton and King students who entered a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest await the recognition ceremony. Photo by Bob Elbert.

"You heard me talk about partnerships," he said at the September installation. "If Ako had tried to do this alone, or if I tried to do it alone, this would have never happened. This is a great example of a new Iowa partnership that's going to make a difference in this state."

More about the partnership

  • Officials in Iowa State's School of Education and the Des Moines schools continue to develop the program that will start next fall. Here's a quick look at the program's elements:
  • A plan is being developed to identify eligible groups of Moulton and King students. Students in the program will have to maintain good grades and participate in various school-related activities throughout their precollegiate careers to qualify for the full-tuition scholarships.
  • In an exclusive agreement, all student teachers and practicum students (those involved in short-term teaching activities at the schools) at King and Moulton schools are Iowa State students.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach staff will develop some after-school and parent programs.
  • ISU's School of Education will develop activities for future teachers that focus on STEM areas and increasing pupils' skills in reading and the sciences.