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Summer programs help high school grads prepare for next steps

Tidewater Community College has been awarded a Title III grant to provide summer programs for recent high school graduates of Norfolk and Portsmouth Public Schools.

The college has space for fifty students in each of the two programs being offered by TCC. High school graduates will spend two weeks on TCC’s Norfolk and Portsmouth Campuses and prepare for their next steps to college and careers.

The Excellence Institute on Norfolk Campus will be held July 24 – Aug. 4. The Summer Bridge program on Portsmouth Campus will be offered August 7-17. The full-day programs include catered breakfasts lunches daily.

The Excellence Institute on the Norfolk Campus is a retention tool designed to increase academic and professional self-efficacy through environmental and experiential learning opportunities. Self-efficacy is a pivotal key to success. The Institute is designed for students who desire support in cultivating a successful mindset and a plan for the life they want.  

“It only takes one decision to change the trajectory of a student’s academic and professional career,” said Khadijah Peak-Brown, TCC’s Connect2TCC coordinator on the Norfolk Campus. “Let this be one of those good decisions. It is my firm belief that joining the Excellence Institute this summer will catapult students’ academic and professional efficacy.”

Excellence Institute program benefits include:

  • Professional profile development, which includes a professional photoshoot, resume writing, LinkedIn profile and interview preparation.
  • Help with navigating the transition from high school with college and career readiness training.
  • Exclusive individualized networking opportunities that match students’ aspirations. 
  • Curated experiences to boost students’ self-efficacy.
  • Interactive sessions to help with selecting career paths and majors.
  • Support with the FAFSA, TCC application process and course selection.
  • Personal development that includes financial literacy, time management, self-regulation and dynamic learning style development.
Khadijah Peak-Brown (left) with students from the Excellence Institute in 2022.

Upon completion of the Excellence Institute, students who choose to attend TCC will have access to two years of on-demand, 1-on-1 Success Coaching to continue cultivating the academic and professional work they started. “If they come here, my goal is to keep them here and support them for the next two years. It will be an honor to join the Institute scholars on that journey,” says Khadijah Peak-Brown.   

To learn more about the Excellence Institute and to apply, visit here.

The Summer Bridge program is for students who are nervous about attending college, want help succeeding in college and wish they had a personal mentor.

“This new program aims to increase the success, college retention and graduation rates of Portsmouth High School students,” said Jabari Colon, Connect2TCC coordinator on Portsmouth Campus. “During a pre-college program, participants engage in evidence-based intensive psychosocial and personal development programming. Participating students will build knowledge and skills to increase their individual and cultural strengths and improve family relationships.”

Summer Bridge program benefits include:

  • Connection with a personal mentor.
  • Learn skills that will help students get the jobs they really want.
  • Engage in group sessions that will push personal development, helping students reach their greatest potential.
  • Participate in team games and personal fitness activities.
  • Connect with other first-year students and key support staff at the college.
  • Receive guidance on financial aid and student and life resources available at TCC.
  • Learn creatively in academic strengthening workshops.
  • Train on how to navigate campus systems.

The Summer Bridge program is also serving students who have elected not to attend college. Students who plan to enter the workforce will be part of the “Bossing Up Academy” with an emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship in their chosen trade. At the conclusion of the two-week program, students will be given the opportunity to learn more by pursuing a Career Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship at TCC.

And while these programs are designed for recent high school graduates from Norfolk and Portsmouth Public Schools, all are welcome to apply to attend. Contact Khadijah Peak-Brown on Norfolk Campus by emailing or calling 757-822-1199. On Portsmouth Campus, reach out to Jabari Colon at or by calling 757-822-2413.