Kindergarteners, Fourth Graders to Experience College Life at Southeast

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

April 8, 2008 – One hundred thirty kindergarteners and fourth graders from Jefferson Elementary School will have the chance to experience “college” life for a day when they visit the Southeast Missouri State University campus April 16.

The Southeast chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an education honor society, is hosting the event — called Literacy Alive – Anything is Possible! — for the third year. New to the tour this year will be Jefferson’s fourth graders, who will be participating for the first time. Since Jefferson’s kindergarteners have fourth grade “buddies” who serve as mentors and peer tutors to them, the older children were invited to participate in the event as well this year. 

“Many children have never visited a college campus and do not have any concept of what college is,” said Dr. Julie Ray, Kappa Delta Pi chapter counselor and associate professor of elementary, early and special education at Southeast. “This field trip is designed to give children a vision for their future, including earning a college degree.”

The visit also will stress the importance of literacy in becoming educated.

The kindergarteners will be introduced to the concept of college and some possible careers they could pursue with a college degree. The fourth graders’ tour will focus on a higher level of understanding of college, such as scholarships and career opportunities, especially in the sciences.

The children’s day will begin with a tour of the River Campus. From there, they will travel to the main campus, where Southeast President Kenneth W. Dobbins is expected to greet the children before they enter and tour Academic Hall. The day also will include visits to Kent Library to see the Jake Wells mural, the University Center and Vandiver Hall.

In the University Center, the children will eat sack lunches and meet Rowdy the Redhawk and several Southeast student athletes. They also will rotate through several activity stations to learn about careers after college. The kindergarteners will learn about astronauts, veterinarians, doctors, nurses, farmers, police officers, artists and chefs. The fourth graders will rotate through activity stations on careers in science, such as conservation, computer programming, athletics, criminal justice and engineering.  All of the stations will feature hands-on activities or community guest speakers.

Both groups will visit a display being called the “College Library” for the day to select a free book. The books are the result of a Kappa Delta Pi sponsored book drive and $200 in grant funding awarded to the chapter. The grant funding allowed Kappa Delta Pi to purchase many of the books to be given to the children. The students also will receive a bag of Southeast souvenirs, including pens, pencils, bookmarks and Rowdy Redhawks.

“The day’s events are designed to give these young children and understanding of what college is, what kind of jobs they can do with a college degree, and why it’s important to work hard now in school so they can go to college someday,” Ray said.