Friday, November 17, 2017
Education

Woodland Elementary students tour Saint Leo University to encourage college goals

RECOMMENDED READING


“Vast" was one of the words on the vocabulary list, and second- and third- graders from Woodland Elementary School put it to good use as they walked the grounds of Saint Leo University during a recent field trip.

"These kids think that a 3,000-student campus is vast," second-grade teacher Nancy Martin said with a chuckle. "They have no idea."

By university standards, Saint Leo might be described as intimate, but for elementary students it is a vast piece of real estate compared to their own campus.

"I like the pool and the church and especially the gym," said Christopher Hendrix, 8, as he lined up with classmates to head to the next stop: the cafeteria. "We don't have a gym at our school."

With Saint Leo students serving as tour guides, the youngsters from Woodland got a glimpse of what college life might look like for them.

Sure, you can talk to kids about going to college in the classroom, said Saint Leo junior Sara Vogel, 21. "But they really can't understand the concept. I think for them to come here and see what it's like is a real eye-opener."

"Now they have a picture when we say 'college,' " Martin said. "They see the library, the abbey, the business building, the gymnasium. They are learning about scholarships; taking in the architecture and the culture. Now we have a few kids who are saying, 'I'm going to go here.' "

That's the idea.

When they grow up

It's all part of a schoolwide motivational theme that has about 850 students at Woodland thinking about what they want to be when they grow up and how to get there.

"Woodland Wranglers, Planning Ahead, Aiming High, College Bound," is the mission statement plastered on bright blue and yellow T-shirts and on signs hung throughout the elementary campus.

That theme is highlighted regularly — during the college spotlight on the school's morning news, through vocabulary lessons with words such as "scholarship," "tuition," "degree" and "campus," and in the black-and-white composition notebook in the school principal's office listing the dreams of every Woodland student to one day be a police officer, teacher, football player, neurosurgeon and even a few princesses. Student council members also push the message to their peers, working hard to raise funds to establish a college scholarship for a graduating Zephyrhills High student who once attended Woodland.

"It's never too early to start thinking about college," said Woodland principal Kimberly Poe, who contacted each of her teachers' alma maters last summer to ask for college swag to post on the hallway bulletin boards.

The idea is to provide hope for students at the Title 1 school who might not be thinking that far ahead. The reality is that students will need some sort of education after high school in order to be successful, said Poe, a true Gator fan who was raised in a single-parent home and earned degrees at the University of South Florida and Saint Leo. "There was never any question that I would go to college. We want to reinforce that message to our students now."

Some motivation today

It's a message not lost on students like Aubrey Hicks, 9, who recently appeared on the morning news to give a shout-out to the day's featured college, the University of South Florida. While Aubrey once thought about being a ballerina or a "horseback rider," these days she has her heart set on being a marine animal trainer — after getting a degree at USF.

"I'd like to work with dolphins, seals and possibly whales," she said. "I'm really interested in a lot of those animals and I think it would be a pleasure to work with them."

Fourth-grader Elijah Garcia, 10, is also thinking about attending USF and perhaps enlisting in the military. "Then maybe I'll be a running back for the Buccaneers."

And there's buy-in from parents such as Elenya Hulbert, a member of the school advisory council whose sons, Kyle, 11, and Austin, 9, attend Woodland.

Both boys got excited about researching different colleges as well as the military academies, Hulbert said. "I think it's motivated them both to do well all year. I see it as being a really great thing for all the kids, that people really believe in them and they can do something with their lives no matter what their parents do or whether they went to college themselves. They're getting the message that they can do anything they set their minds to."

Comments
Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Plans to erase the attendance boundaries for Ridgewood High School have grabbed all the attention.But the Pasco County school district also has proposed changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones for consideration this fall.They’re just ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

ST. PETERSBURG — The athletic facilities at St. Petersburg High are just like Bob Carter remembers from 50 years ago.He recalls it all fondly: The concession stands, ticket booths and bathrooms are still the same. The track is still outdated asphalt,...
Published: 11/15/17
In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

TAMPA — Robert Ryan cleaned out his office in May. He knew he was dying.He had kept driving to the University of South Florida even as he lost the use of his left arm. He had kept teaching English, even as tumors ravaged his mouth so that he could ha...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

The kids at Bing Elementary knew something special was about to happen when a six-foot white dog with a "target" over his right eye walked into the classroom.And they were right.On Tuesday (Nov. 14), volunteers and corporate supporters joined the Hil...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17
New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

DADE CITY — Dustin Snodgrass has a photograph of himself as a child in the pilot’s seat of a kid-size model airplane. Snodgrass, now 28, recently took a big step toward his goal of flying real aircraft with his first solo flight through a new profess...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Hillsborough teachers show up in the hundreds to clamor for promised raises

Hillsborough teachers show up in the hundreds to clamor for promised raises

TAMPA — A weeks-long salary standoff between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers hit an emotional peak Tuesday as hundreds of teachers and students turned out to ask the School Board for their promised raises."War has been declar...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/15/17
Romano: Sorry teachers, you simply can’t win this one

Romano: Sorry teachers, you simply can’t win this one

When it comes to your principles, there is no shame in putting up a fight.You can fight City Hall, and you can fight the power. According to the song, you can fight the law. You can even fight the good fight, whatever that means.But you cannot fight ...
Published: 11/14/17
Hillsborough teachers plan School Board protest today as tensions heat up over pay

Hillsborough teachers plan School Board protest today as tensions heat up over pay

Today is the last time the Hillsborough County School Board will gather before the Thanksgiving break, but the usual pre-holiday vibe may be muted in a district that has fallen on anxious times.Hundreds of teachers are expected to show up in protest ...
Published: 11/14/17
With $15 million donation to USF, top donors urge others to follow their lead

With $15 million donation to USF, top donors urge others to follow their lead

TAMPA — The university had already hit its $1 billion fundraising goal, and the college sweethearts had already cemented their spot as the top donors to their beloved alma mater.At a black tie gala at Amalie Arena on Saturday, though, philanthropic g...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/11/17
Teachers in Hillsborough decide that for a week they will ‘work the contract’

Teachers in Hillsborough decide that for a week they will ‘work the contract’

TAMPA — Teachers in Hillsborough County will "work the contract" for a week after Thanksgiving to illustrate their dissatisfaction with treatment from the school district.That means no late meetings or phone calls with parents and no grading papers a...
Published: 11/10/17