Phuture Phoenix extends vision, holds training with Silver Lake College in Manitowoc

UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program recently conducted a two-day on-campus training with representatives from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, where the program is being replicated. A team from UW-Green Bay joined program co-founders Cyndie Shepard (now of Western Washington University) and Ginny Riopelle, University Trustee, for the session.

Silver Lake’s Look Ahead Lakers program is modeled after Phuture Phoenix, the award-winning initiative that encourages kids from low-income schools to attend college. After starting with 127 fifth-grade students during its first field trip day this spring, Silver Lake plans to double that amount for its second Look Ahead Lakers day in the fall. Its program is funded by a grant through the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, and is part of the Wisconsin College Access Challenge Grant.

Phuture Phoenix group attends training at Silver Lake College, Manitowoc

Pictured in the photo (left to right): Eric Mommaerts (UW-Green Bay student), Megan Kittridge (Western Washington student), Cyndie Shepard (Phuture Phoenix co-founder), Stephanie Cataldo Pabich (Phuture Phoenix associate director), Ginny Riopelle (UW-Green Bay trustee and Phuture Phoenix co-founder), Kim Desotell (Phuture Phoenix director), Carol O’Rourke (Look Ahead Lakers director, Silver Lake College), Sister Kay Klackner (Education faculty, Silver Lake College), and Tara Wachowski (Look Ahead Lakers coordinator, Silver Lake College)

“We are really enthusiastic about the Look Ahead Lakers program that Silver Lake College has begun,” said Phuture Phoenix associate director Stephanie Cataldo Pabich. “They have embraced so many elements of the program, and we look forward to further collaboration with them.”

Phuture Phoenix was the brainchild of Shepard, wife of former UWGB Chancellor Bruce Shepard; and longtime University trustee and UWGB advocate Ginny Riopelle, who also attended the recent training. After hosting about 450 fifth-graders during the first Phuture Phoenix Day in 2002, the successful initiative now serves more than 1,500 students during tour days each fall. Fifth-graders pair with UWGB student mentors, many of them first-generation college students themselves, for tours and other experiences designed to give them a genuine feel for college life. Phuture Phoenix continues to serve its students through grade 12, encouraging them to finish high school and pursue higher education.

In addition to Silver Lake College, Phuture Phoenix has been replicated at UW-Eau Claire and Western Washington, where Bruce Shepard serves as president. This year’s Phuture Phoenix campus tour days are Oct. 11 and 13. Visit for more information.

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