Program for At-Risk Students Helps College, Too

A pipeline from inner cities makes sense for small colleges like Southern Vermont

'Fire in the Belly' U. 1

Caleb Kenna for The Chronicle

Rachael Williams (center) had abysmal high-school grades, but now she's in her second year, and on the soccer team, at Southern Vermont College.

On paper, Rachael Williams doesn't seem like the kind of student who would wind up at a four-year college and do well there to boot. She had a high-school record rife with F's—"the worst transcript I have ever seen," by her own admission. It was a consequence of skipping school for a full year in 10th grade to drink, do drugs, and roam the streets of Schenectady, N.Y., till late at night with rowdy friends. She comes from one of the roughest parts of the city, her father is not really