It sounds like the words to a Lee Greenwood song, but it is actually the route a group of 45 students from the Detroit Public School district took during a week-long college tour.

The students were in Dallas April 19 to tour the University of North Texas at Dallas. For the 12th year in a row, the City of Detroit has taken public school students on tours of colleges and universities around the country over their spring break.

Terry Lyons, program coordinator for the city's SAFETY (Successful Alliance for Educating Talented Youth) program, is leading the ninth through 12th grade students on a tour of the country by bus.

"The college tours were started to give inner-city students exposure to different opportunities for higher academic learning. A lot of times students in the inner-city don't venture out further than two blocks from their homes, so to leave our state and see different schools challenges their thinking," she said.

Lyons said they chose the nation's newest university because they were going to be in the Dallas area, "And it was the one that just popped out at us. It looked really good on the Internet. I thought it would be a good opportunity for the students to come here and experience it."

The City of Detroit Youth Division has three afterschool programs: SAFETY, STEPS—Strong Teams Excelling in Prevention Services—and YDI—Youth Development Institute. Students who have been consistent in the programs are allowed to apply for and selected to go on the college tour, Lyons said.

The group started their tour by driving to Houston. Then have toured Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M, and today they toured the University of North Texas at Dallas. After spending the afternoon at the Parks Mall in Arlington, they will head to Oklahoma City to tour Langston University and Oklahoma State University. Then they head to Missouri to tour Lincoln University and will do some sightseeing in Chicago before heading back home.


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