UW-Green Bay will host its 12th annual Phuture Phoenix Days Tuesday, Oct. 13 and Thursday, Oct. 15, welcoming nearly 1,400 area fifth-graders who will tour campus and explore life as potential college students. The program partners with schools that have high percentages of students from low-income families and encourages students to graduate from high school and pursue a college education. The program has hosted a total of 17,241 fifth grade students on tour days since 2003. To help support the large number of participants, there will be more than 250 UW-Green Bay students serving as role models and group leaders for the day and at least 120 faculty and staff members participating. This year, every visiting fifth-grader will visit a lecture, a residence hall, the Kress Events Center, and enjoy a meal on campus.
UW-Green Bay will host its 12th annual Phuture Phoenix Days Tuesday, Oct. 13 and Thursday, Oct. 15, welcoming nearly 1,400 area fifth-graders who will tour campus and explore life as potential college students.
UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program partners with schools that have high percentages of students from low-income families and encourages students to graduate from high school and pursue a college education.
The program has hosted a total of 17,241 fifth grade students since it began in 2003. To help support the large number of participants, there will be more than 250 UW-Green Bay students serving as role models and group leaders for the day and at least 120 faculty and staff members participating.
This year’s campus visit intends to offer the visiting fifth-graders a varied look at the college experience, introducing them to multiple aspects of campus life. Every fifth-grader and their UWGB mentors will visit a lecture, a residence hall, the Kress Events Center, and enjoy a meal in the Weidner Center or the University Union’s Phoenix Room. Additionally, numerous UW-Green Bay students and faculty members have planned special, large-group activities for students to interact with peers from their own and other participating schools. A few of these activities include exploration of the Cofrin Library archives, interactive improvisational games, a “slime laboratory,” printmaking, and “College 101” presentations touching upon financial aid, admissions, advising and social work.
Phuture Phoenix Day is a coordinated effort to inspire academic success and alert children to educational opportunities available to them. Phuture Phoenix programming helps prepare elementary school students for college early, says Jenny Woldt, a fifth-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School and fan of the program.
“You have to start in kindergarten, get it in their brain that they are college bound no matter where they come from, and that they just need to work hard in school and work hard in their community, and they can get there,” Woldt says.
New to the Tuesday field trip this year are expanded opportunities for fifth-graders to explore the Kress Events Center and UW-Green Bay’s Office of Residence Life, getting a feel for fitness and recreational options and on-campus housing.
“The Office of Residence Life is happy to be able to participate in the Phuture Phoenix program, as it’s never too early to introduce the concept of attending college,” says UW-Green Bay Director of Residence Life, Gail Sims-Aubert. “It’s so important that today’s youth understand going to college means they will be a part of a vibrant educational experience both inside and outside the classroom. This program is an outstanding opportunity to provide a sneak peak of life on campus.”
Brent Tavis, Assistant Athletics Director for Events and Operations, agrees, adding, “The Kress Events Center is very excited to be able to host the Phuture Phoenix participants every year. It’s an excellent experience for the participants and for the Kress. We get to expose kids to a great atmosphere of sports, fitness, and activities that we hope will make their time here at UW-Green Bay more memorable.”
For more information about Phuture Phoenix.
Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Patti Zarling on Thursday (Oct. 23) gave readers an inside look at UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program, writing about last week’s tour days for the newspaper’s “Today’s Take” column. Zarling attended the second of two fall tour days last week, checking out the morning’s opening pep rally and talking to some students from Abrams Elementary School about their college aspirations. “ …how cool is it that the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay runs its Phuture Phoenix program, offering Green Bay area fifth-graders a close-up look at campus life?” Zarling writes. “They get to see what the future could be. Those in charge say kids are fascinated by the idea of living on campus and about the chance to choose their own classes.” You can read Zarling’s full column, and check out some great Phuture Phoenix photos.
UW-Green Bay welcomed its largest-ever Phuture Phoenix fall tour day Tuesday, Oct. 14, when more than 1,050 area fifth-graders got a firsthand look at what college has to offer.
“When I go to college, I want to study nature,” said Joclyn, a fifth-grader at Green Bay’s Danz Elementary School.
“I want to be a veterinarian, and work with animals,” added Amanda, who attends Hemlock Creek Elementary School in West De Pere.
“Today is all about inspiration and dreams,” said Phuture Phoenix interim director Stephanie Cataldo-Pabich. “Today we want students to think big about their future, so we’re putting them with college role models for the day to walk around and spend a day on campus — in their shoes, to figure out what college really means so that they can envision themselves going on to college in the future.”
Phuture Phoenix pairs fifth-graders with UW-Green Bay student role models like Chloe Anderson. A freshman, Anderson was enjoying her very first Phuture Phoenix Day.
“It’s just such a cool opportunity to see someone older and what they do and their daily lives and to get kids (to) start thinking about future education,” Anderson said. “The biggest thing, I think, is how awesome curiosity is and how far you can go with it, you know — if you can imagine it, you can be it kind of thing, and it just shows all the options.”
Phuture Phoenix works with students from low-income schools, many of whom could be the first in their family to go to college.
“I think it’s really important to put kids in front of students who may be like them,” Cataldo-Pabich said, “and first-generation college students make up a huge majority of UW-Green Bay — there’s a lot of first-generation students here.
“And what we want to say to them is, ‘you know what? It’s kind of hard when you’re the first one in your family to do something, but that doesn’t make it so you shouldn’t do it.’ And so that’s what we want these kids to hear because you know what? A lot of them are going to be the first generation kids in their families, too.”
Fifth-grader Amanda heard the college-attainment message loud and clear.
“It’s just as important as to go to school,” she said. “College just helps you learn more stuff for a job, and for your future, later on.”
It was a special day for fifth-graders and UW-Green Bay students alike, Anderson said.
“It’s not only a good experience for them, but it’s a great experience for us, and we love getting to know them,” Anderson said. “They’re so sweet and wonderful.”
Phuture Phoenix makes an impact — on campus and beyond, Cataldo-Pabich said.
“I think it’s important for our University to reach out into the community, and this is a great way to do that,” she said. “Our program is really strongly supported in the community and I think that’s in part because they see the value of what’s going on today.”
More information about the Phuture Phoenix program is available online.
The Phuture Phoenix program welcomes hundreds more fifth-graders for the second of this week’s campus tour days, tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 16). Here’s hoping for nice weather. We’ll have another photo gallery to share when things quiet back down.
UW-Green Bay is hosting its 11th annual Phuture Phoenix field trip days this week, welcoming 1,460 area fifth-graders to explore campus and envision life as a college student. The first group, roughly a thousand in all, came through Tuesday (Oct. 14). A second and smaller group was scheduled to tour campus on Thursday the 16th.
– Photos by Eric Miller, photographer, Office of Marketing and University Communication
The next generation of college students is set to take campus by storm this week, as UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program welcomes a record 1,460 area fifth-graders for the annual program tour days tomorrow and Thursday (Oct. 14 and 16). As we told you here last week, the theme for this year’s tour days is “hands-on history,” which will offer students a first-hand glimpse of experiential learning in a University setting. To help support the record number of fifth-graders, 268 UW-Green Bay students and 90-plus faculty members will participate in this year’s tour days. Read more.
UW-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix field trip days are set for Tuesday (Oct. 14) and Thursday (Oct. 16). With 1,460 fifth-graders from elementary schools in Brown County and the surrounding areas attending, this year’s participation numbers are the highest ever. The program has hosted a total of 15,781 fifth-grade students since it began in 2003. To help support the record number of participants there will be 268 UW-Green Bay students serving as role models and group leaders for the day, along with more than 90 faculty members. This year’s theme, hands-on history, will offer young visitors a first-hand glimpse of experiential learning in a University setting. Among the highlights, the UW-Green Bay History Club will be leading students in Viking-themed cultural activities like cold-smithing, copper wire weaving, hand spinning wool, and Viking costumes and music. Comments Associate Prof. Heidi Sherman, Humanistic Studies, “We hope it will show the fifth-graders that the college experience is fun and that learning about the past takes many forms.” Read the full news release for more details.
UW-Green Bay will host its 11th annual Phuture Phoenix field trip days Tuesday, Oct. 14 and Thursday, Oct. 16, welcoming 1,460 area fifth-graders who will explore campus and experience life as a college student.
This year’s field trip focus will be hands-on history, offering students a first-hand glimpse of experiential learning in a University setting.
UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program partners with schools that have high percentages of students from low-income families and encourages students to graduate from high school and pursue a college education. This year’s field trip boasts the highest number of students to date. The program has hosted a total of 15,781 fifth-grade students since it began in 2003. To help support the record number of participants, there will be 268 UW-Green Bay students serving as role models and group leaders for the day and 90-plus faculty members participating.
Students and their mentors will visit classrooms, residence halls, the Cofrin Library, the Kress Events Center and other parts of campus during the tour days. Numerous UW-Green Bay faculty members have special planned activities for students and teachers alike.
As part of the hands-on history theme, the UW-Green Bay History Club will give a short presentation on Viking history, followed by hands-on demonstrations of cold smithing, hand spinning (spinning wool into thread with a spindle), wire knitting (how the Vikings made chains for hanging their jewelry), and whipcord braiding (making braids by twisting long threads suspended from the ceiling). The History Club will be making Viking wire knitted chains for each of the 200-plus Phuture Phoenix students who visit the presentation. UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Heidi Sherman, Humanistic Studies (History), said she looks forward to sharing the history-themed activities with Phuture Phoenix students.
“We hope it will show the fifth-graders that the college experience is fun and that learning about the past takes many forms,” Sherman said.
Phuture Phoenix Day is a coordinated effort to inspire academic success and alert children to educational opportunities that are available to them. College prep starts early and the Phuture Phoenix field trip offers students a first-hand look at the necessary steps to pursue and attain higher education goals. It’s an important program, said Keta Quiver, fifth-grade teacher at Oneida Elementary School.
“I think the Phuture Phoenix program gives students one of their first opportunities to tour a university and experience college life,” she said. “It shows them where their hard work and dedication to their education can take them in life.”
New to the Tuesday field trip this year is an interactive opportunity for students to visualize their future at UW-Green Bay. UW-Green Bay student Courtney Maye is organizing the activity that is inspired by the work of artist Candy Chang, on utilizing public space by engaging and provoking individual thought. Students will be able to write their first mock college application essay by finishing the sentence, “I want to go to college…so that I can”…on a chalkboard. The goal is to have the students write why they want to go to college in a way that expresses individuality, while giving them time to think about the reasons they would like to pursue higher education.
More information about Phuture Phoenix is available at www.uwgb.edu/phuturephoenix/.
For UW-Green Bay seniors Seenia Thao and Jenny Mottl, Saturday’s commencement ceremony will culminate a journey that’s been nearly a dozen years in the making.
That’s because the pair’s UW-Green Bay story started not four or five years ago, as is the case for many of their peers, but back in April 2003, when they were fifth-grade participants in what was then a still-new program called Phuture Phoenix.
With Saturday’s commencement, Thao and Mottl will become UW-Green Bay’s first Phuture Phoenix program graduates, epitomizing the goals of the University’s signature college attainment program — to show youngsters from at-risk schools that college is possible, to help them see themselves pursuing higher education, and eventually, to support them in achieving college acceptance and completing their university education.
“These first few Phuture Phoenix graduates represent the success of the program now and in the future, to open doors and set a vision for college starting in the younger years,” said Phuture Phoenix Director Kimberly Desotell. “Phuture Phoenix programming, tutoring, mentoring and scholarship aid are critical components of support toward degree completion, to help students realize their dreams for a better future.”
Phuture Phoenix started as the brainchild of UW-Green Bay Trustee Ginny Riopelle and Cyndie Shepard, wife of former UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard. A visit to a local elementary school helped underscore the need for pushing the college-is-possible message early and often, and the pair sat down and created Phuture Phoenix in an afternoon. The program’s signature tour day has since served more than 13,000 fifth-graders from at-risk schools, and students receiving ongoing tutoring, mentoring and other support as they advance through the grades. If Phuture Phoenix students choose UW-Green Bay, a renewable scholarship helps them during each of their four years of school.
“We are tremendously proud to see these first Phuture Phoenix students graduating from UW-Green Bay and beginning the next phase of their lives,” Riopelle said. “This grassroots program has grown considerably since its inception, and yet its mission remains the same — to tell and to show kids that college is possible for them.”
That was a message received loud and clear for both Thao, who will graduate Saturday with a Social Work degree, and Mottl, whose major was Spanish.
Thao had been to UW-Green Bay before her tour day, with her parents who were part of the Hmong radio broadcast from the campus Wisconsin Public Radio station. But being part of Phuture Phoenix took that experience to the next level, she said.
“This is when I first got connected to the value of higher education,” said Thao, who attended Green Bay’s Howe Elementary School, “and imagined myself in the college experience.”
Since her freshman year, Thao has volunteered for the annual fall tour day, wearing her original Phuture Phoenix t-shirt underneath the t-shirt for the current year. She loves seeing all the students come through, and relishes the chance to share her experience with them.
“They have big dreams,” Thao said. “They all want to do something and it’s just great to see them feel the same connection I felt to campus — being wowed by everything, I mean, that’s the biggest thing because they see their future in a different light. They know possibilities (exist).”
For Mottl, Phuture Phoenix tour day was her first experience with a college campus — any college campus. She remembers the experience seemed intimidating at first, but the warm welcome from the UW-Green Bay community quickly dissipated any fears. And pretty quickly, her mind was made up about college.
“I think after the Phuture Phoenix visit, I kind of always planned to come to UWGB,” Mottl said. “I love the campus and its programs, and I think it’s more affordable yet offers the same education as other universities in the state. And the scholarship I got from PP definitely helped solidify that decision, and financially it has really helped me stay in college. So I’ll be forever grateful for that.”
And as it turns out, both of UW-Green Bay’s first Phuture Phoenix grads aren’t done learning yet. Thao will attend graduate school in the fall, pursuing a master’s degree at UW-Madison, while Mottl plans to do the same at UW-Milwaukee. You can be sure they’ll both remember where it all began.
“I am so proud to be a part of this from the beginning, to know that Phuture Phoenix supported me,” Thao said. “And I can’t wait to see all the other students (around) my age and continuing from fifth grade to have their dreams come true. I would not be where I am without Phuture Phoenix.”