November 20, 2013
Grade-schoolers check out college
Sixth-graders from Cortland’s Randall Elementary School took to the SUNY Cortland campus Tuesday to get a taste of the college life, with a series of events around campus.
The students were from Nancy Thompson and Heather Donahue’s sixth-grade classes.
“We’re trying to get kids interested in college,” said Julie Caruso, a senior therapeutic recreation major who helped run the event. “We’re showing them the opportunities we have in our own backyard.”
“We’re giving them experience outside our classroom walls,” Donahue said. “They don’t know what it’s (college) like. We want them to know what their options are.”
The day started off with an address from Mayor Brian Tobin. Also the head coach of the college’s men’s and women’s swim teams, Tobin attended SUNY Cortland as an undergraduate, and talked to the students about what it takes to get into college.
“He talked to the kids about how to afford school,” Donahue said.
“There were a lot of questions about financial aid and how you can afford college,” added Brooke Burk, a professor in the college’s Recreation Department whose REC 380 class planned and ran the event.
One student, 11-year-old Lyndsie Babcock, said that from Tobin’s talk, she learned that she could take out a loan to help pay for college.
“I’ve already started saving up all the change around my house,” said Babcock, who hopes to be a large animal veterinarian. “My friends went to Alfred (State) and I really want to go there.”
The day-long event acted as an exercise in special event planning, Burk said. On Friday of last week, another group of students from recreation classes led sixth-graders from Barry Elementary School on a similar tour.
After a well-received stop at Neubig Hall for an all-you-could-eat lunch, Thompson and Donahue’s classes headed for Corey Union for a handful of physical activities.
Throughout the day, the students were led around campus by current SUNY Cortland students, giving the sixth-graders the chance to ask any miscellaneous questions they had about college life.
“’What do you have to do to get on the football team? What kind of classes do you take?’” were some of the questions that Caruso said she heard throughout the day. “It’s fun to see them so engaged.
“They were very interested in knowing how long the students are in school,” Burk said. “Also in what you can study here.”
Eleven-year-old Joslyn Phalen said she hopes to attend college to study English.
“I want to be a writer,” said Phalen, who writes fiction stories. “My Nana’s always wanted me to go to Cornell (University), so maybe I’ll go there.”
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