Photo gallery: Wisconsin Covenant brings Gov. Doyle, eighth-graders to campus
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle met with area eighth graders on the UW-Green Bay campus April 28 to deliver a pep talk about his Wisconsin Covenant initiative and the idea college is possible.
Nearly 200 students attended the program in the University Union’s Phoenix Room. Participating schools were Bessie Allen Middle School of North Fond du Lac, Bay View Middle School of Howard-Suamico, and Thomas J. Walker Middle School of Sturgeon Bay. The visiting middle schoolers toured campus, visited classrooms and offices and enjoyed lunch after opening the morning with the kick-off message from Doyle.
The governor told his young audience that society needs them to reach their full potential, and for many, that will involve post-secondary education. “The state of Wisconsin is going to be as strong as you guys make it,” he said, calling the students our future doctors, teachers, skilled tradespeople and community leaders. “You’ll take us as far as we’re going to go.”
Doyle explained details of the Wisconsin Covenant. Eighth-graders promise to graduate from high school, maintain a B average, take the right courses, and exhibit good citizenship. In return, the governor told them, the state would guarantee them a spot in one of Wisconsin’s two- or four-year universities, colleges or tech schools, along with financial aid grants for those of greatest need
As part of the ceremony, Doyle and UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas K. Harden looked on as two designated students from each middle school signed an oversize copy of the Wisconsin Covenant pledge form. All of the student participants were invited to sign actual agreements later.
Gov. Doyle told the audience the Phuture Phoenix program, which originated nearly a decade ago in Green Bay, was among the inspirations for the Covenant initiative.
“In many ways, the Covenant is about something that started here. UWGB has been a real leader in this area, in getting elementary, middle school and high school students to visit campus, in getting young people prepared for college,” Doyle said. “The Phuture Phoenix program has been one of the great, outstanding programs.”
The students heard a brief welcome from Chancellor Thomas Harden and a motivational address by Phoenix women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant. The coach shared stories from his own K-12 and college experience, and talked about how time spent in the Philippines changed his world view. He encouraged the young people to maintain “an attitude of gratitude” and always appreciate the gifts they have been given and use them to their fullest in pursuing their dreams, whatever they might be.
Also speaking was Ashwaubenon High School student Amber Smits, who introduced the governor. A junior, she was among the first group of 17,000 eighth graders to sign the pledge. She told the students that signing the pledge was a help: it served to remind her to apply herself in school, especially in her challenging Advanced Placement courses.
Tours of campus and visits to classrooms and offices followed. Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.