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First Graders Already Thinking About College? You Bet.

As part of Noble Elementary's College Week, students find out why it's never too early to start dreaming big.

Hundreds of feet padded into the gym, and children sat cross-legged, eyes wide, and leaned in to get a closer look.  These pig-tailed, fuzzy socked and jean clad Noble Elementary students were so quiet you’d think it was the principal’s office. What’s amazing about these kindergarten through 5th grade students is just their focus, but that their focus was on college.

Noble Elementary in Golden Valley is getting the word out that college education is for everyone and the time to start dreaming is now.  From Africa to Antarctica, teacher Jackie Smith explained, “Your learning can take you anywhere you want to go.”

Two tiny kindergarten boys who have barely learned to spell their names now got to tell the bigger boys and girls about Australia - they even played small didgeridoos.  Older 5th grade students shyly walked up to the microphone one by one and told of colleges around the country including the all-important mascot for each. 

This may be just the beginning of their exposure to life after what seems like forever in grade school, but that didn’t seem to stop them from smiling as students and staff shared learning options all over the world.

As one teacher began to talk about her dream of traveling someday to Africa, a small 2nd grader leaned into on friend and whispered, “I’m gonna go there too.”

 The teachers proudly wore their college sweatshirts and University of Minnesota maroon and gold dominated the crowd.  The 5th graders got to take an even closer look at college life by meeting with some current U of M students later in the day.

The dream of college didn't end with this assembly.  In early April these small faces will be bending their necks back to learn from some University of Minnesota science students in 3rd through 5th grade classrooms as they work on projects together.  If you remember the chairs from elementary school, some of the college students will be hugging their knees, but there’s little doubt that all ages will learn something new from each other.

The partnership with the U of M is part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Initiatives Grant and the Region 11 Math and Science Teacher Center.

So for young girls who dream of dancing in a castle and little boys who hope to someday shake hands with an elephant, learning is opening doors and making dreams seem that much sweeter.

Cari Johnson April 06, 2011 at 12:54 PM
Thank you for this article - it is exciting to see the power of saying, "This is for you!" My high school counselor, Dixie Berry, explained what a Bachelors, a Masters, and a Doctorate degree were. She said, "You should consider getting a Masters or a Doctorate degree." That was the first time that I understood graduate degrees, and it planted the seed that they were for me, too. From that moment, I knew that I would go beyond the undergraduate level, and I did. I will never forget the power of Dixie's saying, "This is for you, too."

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