Courtesy of the Greenfield Daily Reporter
One youngster wants to be a swimming teacher. Another is undecided. And one little girl, in kindergarten at J.B. Stephens Elementary School in Greenfield, told counselor Christy Harpold she wants to be a T-Rex.
Whether the question came from school counselors or student volunteers on the IUPUI campus, the goal was to get students from the Class of 2032 thinking about their future. Some 1,000 kindergarten students from five Hancock County schools visited the university’s Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer stadium during the second-annual “Walk into My Future” event, hosted by Hancock County Promise.
The organization works to make college possible for every Hancock County student by helping their parents establish a CollegeChoice 529 savings account. The program establishes free savings plans for local kindergarten students, with some seed money to get them started. As part of the program, Hancock County kindergarten teachers prepared lessons about college and careers for their students. The visit to IUPUI marks the capstone of the project, according to Daily Reporter archives.
At least 400 volunteers from IUPUI helped make the event possible, hosting activities, games and discussions for groups of kindergartners dressed in T-shirts corresponding to their school district. Some 32 stations, hosted by athletes, IUPUI’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, academic departments and other student organizations, provided thought-provoking activities to the students from Greenfield-Central, Eastern Hancock, Southern Hancock and Mt. Vernon schools, as well as those from Geist Montessori Academy.
The youngsters visited six stations each, said Jennifer Zotz, IUPUI senior coordinator for campus visits and events. After lunch, they were treated to an IUPUI Jaguars-style pep rally.
Scott Shipley, chair of Hancock County Promise, praised the university for being so willing to create such a large-scale event for Hancock County students.
“They have really embraced having Hancock County come out here, and we can’t thank them enough,” he said.
Matt Davis, principal of Weston Elementary School in Greenfield, said students received lessons related to careers before the field trip and they will talk again about their future possibilities after the trip. He said students whose parents start saving when they’re young have a better chance of going to college.
Graduate student Devin McDaniel, who helped organize the event, began working on it in May, he said. “Walk into My Future” is the biggest event of its kind offered at IUPUI, he said.
To learn more, visit the Hancock County Promise website.
By GDR Rorye Hatcher