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.
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“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.