Ten years, 11,000 smiles: Phuture Phoenix marks a decade of inspiring kids
UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program celebrated a key milestone Oct. 9, marking 10 years of Fall Tour Days aimed at boosting college aspirations for area fifth-graders. More than 11,000 students have attended the campus tour days, which involve some 1,400 fifth-grade students and hundreds of UW-Green Bay student mentors each year. It’s the first step in a lasting relationship with Phuture Phoenix that continues to include tutoring and mentoring in middle and high school — and eventually, scholarships for Phuture Phoenix students who attend UW-Green Bay.
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“This year with our tour date marks the 10th anniversary of Phuture Phoenix,” said Phuture Phoenix Director Kimberly Desotell. “The program begins with fifth-graders by bringing them to campus, such as today, and showcasing our beautiful campus — talking about what college can be and helping to position them and set the tone for what can possibly be in their future.”
It’s a message fifth-grader Cassaundra Emery heard loud and clear during the Oct. 9 tour.
“I think it’s important to study hard,” Emery said, “because I want to be in a good college, for school.”
Nohely Mendoza agreed, adding that she enjoyed the chance to visit UW-Green Bay.
“I think it’s a good place where you can go and study to be anything you want,” Mendoza said. “I want to study to be a pediatrician.”
The Fall Tour Days give students an opportunity they might not otherwise have, Desotell said.
“It’s an amazing day all around,” she said. “It’s an amazing day for the fifth-graders, for sure, because they get to see what campus can be like. Very often, for a great majority of them, this is the very first opportunity to even step foot on a campus.”
Visiting a college campus for the first time, fifth-grader Daniel Farfan said the trip exceeded his expectations.
“I thought it was going to be a little boring, but it’s really fun,” he said. “We went to a class that they’re learning about the government.”
UW-Green Bay students, many of them Education majors, play a critical role in making Phuture Phoenix Day a success, Desotell said.
“They are paired up with mentors and role models, and those mentors make connections and build relationships for the students, and really alert the children to options for post-secondary,” she said. “Then what we do is we continue in what we call phase two of the program, and we tutor and mentor in our high needs middle and high schools.”
UW-Green Bay student Theresa Rock attended Phuture Phoenix Day while a student at Green Bay’s Nicolet Elementary School. On Oct. 9, she paired up with the class of Nicolet teacher Daniel Dennis, whom she’d had as a teacher in second grade.
“As I got to UWGB, I participated in the scholarship program because I went on the field trip as a fifth-grader and here I am as a group leader,” Rock said. “Honestly I just like hanging out with the kids — especially the kids who are at the same elementary school I was at when I was young.”
Reuniting with Rock was just one of many Phuture Phoenix Day highlights for Dennis, who has attended the Tour Day program with his students for several years.
“Truthfully, this is probably my favorite day of fifth grade,” Dennis said. “I just love this day; I love everything about it — I love the atmosphere I love being here. And it’s something we talk about now throughout the school year.”
See a photo gallery from the Phuture Phoenix Tour Day.
For more information on UW-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix program, visit www.uwgb.edu/phuturephoenix.
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