Fifth-Graders Visit Campuses And Get A Vision Of Their Future
April 9, 2005
BY SUSAN KANIA, SPECIAL TO THE COURANT
Jaquan Forde, 10, says
he likes the idea of one day being the first member of his family
to attend college. And a visit to the University of Hartford
with his Rawson Elementary School classmates Friday helped convince
him that it just might be possible.
Fifth-graders from Rawson and Annie Fisher elementary schools
in Hartford were among more than 1,500 city students who participated
in Fifth Graders go to College 2005. Over the past week, all
of the city fifth-graders visited one of 11 campuses across the
state, where they took tours and ate lunch with college students
and participated in activities such as robotics, science experiments,
drama or sports.
The program, which began in 1998, aims to encourage Hartford
students to begin preparing and planning for college early in
their school careers. At first, about 200 city fifth-graders
visited nearby college campuses each year. But through the collaboration
of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, the Hartford
Public Schools and St. Paul Travelers, the program was expanded
to send every city fifth-grader to visit a college campus this
"We want to send a loud message to parents and students
that we expect them to achieve and that college is possible and
very important for their futures," said Rosanne Druckman,
executive director of the Hartford Consortium.
"Fifth-graders have a world of potential before them," said
Hartford Superintendent of Schools Robert Henry. "We want
to kindle the dream in their young minds that they can graduate
from college and compete in the global economy."
In addition to the University of Hartford, city students also
visited Capital and Manchester community colleges; Central, Eastern
and Southern Connecticut state universities; St. Joseph College;
Trinity College; Wesleyan University; and the University of Connecticut
campuses in Storrs and West Hartford.
The sun came out as Jaquan and his classmates took a brisk student-led
tour across the University of Hartford campus on Friday, carefully
avoiding the mud and puddles from the overnight rain. They heard
about college life when they stopped at dormitories, classroom
buildings, the library, the Lincoln Theater, the Joseloff art
gallery and the Gengras student center. They were introduced
to college terms such as bursar, registrar and dean.
Alfred Durant, 12, from Rawson
said he was impressed by a large model of the campus on display
in the library and two students who were expertly kicking a
hacky sack around outside. "I
would like to go to college to learn how to draw," he said.
Tiffany Jonah, 12, of Annie Fisher, said she liked seeing the
library and the many large, open lounge areas where students
could meet on campus. Jawaun Bosh, 10, of Annie Fisher, said
he liked stopping to watch students who were sculpting clay.
But for most of the fifth-graders, a stop at the university
sports complex where they met three Hartford Hawks basketball
players and Head Coach Larry Harrison was the highlight of the
visit. Harrison urged them to spend as much time in the library
and reading as they do in the gym. He also talked to them about
paying for a college education.
"Not all scholarships are for athletes. You can get scholarships
for academic achievement, or if you play a musical instrument
or draw well," Harrison said. "If you read and learn
and keep getting better at what you're good at, you will be able
to go to college in 2012."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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