Author: Elizabeth Figueroa
On a crisp October morning, students at Horace Mann Elementary returned from their week-long break to a special treat: the kick-off for University Week! Teachers lined up their classes on the artificial turf outside the school. When the youngsters looked out across the field, they beheld a wall of SJSU Soccer players in shiny blue uniforms. The players took turns speaking to the eager kids, dispensing advice such as “take care of business in the classroom and give it your best on the field.”
For the rest of the week schools celebrated an entire week of college-themed activities. The theme for this year’s College Day prompted students to wonder: “Who do you want to be?” The week culminated in the big event: College Day itself.
Just a few blocks fro
On the other edge of downtown, students at Burnett Middle School received an inspiring speech from Councilmember Raul Peralez. His rousing story reached over 300 middle school students (his biggest audience so far)! Councilmember Peralez touched on being a first generation Latino college student in the math department at San Jose State University, the responsibility that came with it, and the mentor who suggested he consider the path to becoming a police officer. Great motivator to get Burnett Middle School students thinking about their futures!
Teachers across San Jose were delighted to have such support in their classrooms. “This was the best College Day ever,” enthused one teacher. “I’m so thankful that I signed up for a speaker….his presentation was a great endorsement of college.” Another teacher concurred, adding that “this is our second year participating in College Day and each year it gets better.”
The experiences proved to be just as rewarding for the speakers. “It was a meaningful opportunity for me,” said one presenter. Another presenter reported that “the feedback I got from two students was the best part… I know I can’t win them all but for me, that one child counts.” Another speaker observed “I forgot is how it can be challenging to “translate” our college lingo and make it applicable to 4th and 5th graders, but I loved it and would love to be invited back.”
Will you be the mentor to inspire a future leader? If you join College Day, your chances are pretty high! Until next time, remember to celebrate college. Promote the promising futures one can have by going to college. Inspire others to be an inspiration. Change the conversation!