They're here… seven years early

Campus just “lights up” when the Phuture Phoenix Days roll around each fall.

More than 1,300 fifth graders from area elementary schools visit the UW-Green Bay campus over two days, getting a taste of college life and learning that no educational goal is beyond their grasp if they try hard.

The latest Phuture Phoenix Days were held Oct. 14 and Oct. 16.

“Many of the youngsters that attend our field trip days have never stepped foot on a college campus before, and this is their first experience and exposure to what college might be like for them,” said Phuture Phoenix Director Kim Desotell.

The Phuture Phoenix program targets at-risk students—fifth through 11th grade—from area schools by encouraging students to get good grades and set a goal of continuing their educations beyond high school.

UW-Green Bay students serve as mentors and help the students individually in their home schools. They also serve as campus guides for the day of fun and learning at UW-Green Bay.

The whole goal for (the fifth graders) is to see what campus is all about,” said Stephanie Cataldo Pabic, Phuture Phoenix associate director. “It’s not a scary place. It’s a fun place and they can do it, too.”

Video Transcript

Stephanie Cataldo Pabich, Phuture Phoenix Associate Director
Phuture Phoenix is a program based at UW-Green Bay, and the main goal of Phuture Phoenix is to inspire children to think about going on to higher education in their future.

We start in fifth grade, and we bring the fifth graders out to the campus and we show them around. And we let them spend a day with a college student and live the life of a college student. Beyond that, in sixth through 11th grade, for this year, what we do is we tutor and mentor in the schools. So we go out to the schools where these children are and we help them with homework and give them a mentoring relationship where they can think about what the possibilities might be for their future.

Kim Desotell, Phuture Phoenix Director
The Phuture Phoenix field trip day, we actually have two field trip days. The first day is our immediate Brown County schools. We host close to 1,000 students on campus. They actually have a chance to walk in the shoes of UWGB students. They’re placed in small groups of about six or eight students, and they’re paired with two UWGB role models. The role models take them on a full tour of campus, to experience not only what the learning is about, but the entire atmosphere of the campus, from the student union, to looking at some of the dorms and residence areas, to looking at the amenities and opportunities of student organizations that are available to them on campus.

Many of the youngsters that attend our field trip days have never stepped foot on a college campus before, and this is their first experience and exposure to what college might be like for them.

Stephanie Cataldo Pabich, Phuture Phoenix Associate Director
The whole goal for them is to see what campus is all about. It’s not a scary place. It’s a fun place and they can do it, too.

Alyssa, Danz Elementary
I think it’s really amazing and I’ve learned a lot. I think that I’d really want to come back and come here again and go to college here because it’s really exciting and you can learn a lot.

Allison, Hemlock Creek Elementary

Today we get to do a lot of different things. We get to see classrooms and see all the different things that college students have to do to get into college and what they do to be in college.

Vanessa, Anne Sullivan Elementary
I think Phuture Phoenix is fun and I think it’s a nice way to learn more things. And I hope I get good grades so one day I can visit again this school.

Angalee, Turtle Elementary
Campus is really huge and cool.

Jaycob, Turtle Elementary
We went to go check on some classes. We went in the library. We went all the way to the top floor. It was cool there.

Luis Manuel, Anne Sullivan Elementary
You should go to college. It’s really cool and fun. They have big stuff and you can pick your classes to go to.

Calia, Kennedy Elementary
It’s awesome. It’s huge.

Asha, Kennedy Elementary
It’s not just all homework

Nahkya, Kennedy Elementary
It’s fun.

Asha, Kennedy Elementary
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Ethan, Kennedy Elementary

It’s pretty fun that we’re fifth graders and we get to do the Phuture Phoenix Program.

Stephanie Cataldo Pabich, Phuture Phoenix Associate Director
Phuture Phoenix Day really brings the campus alive. It’s usually a beautiful day in fall and we have 1,300 kids visit campus, and they spread out all over campus. And we encourage the college students to have fun with their students to allow them to just enjoy the day; to point out all the different beautiful things about this campus, and not just focus on the academics, but say, ‘college is fun, you make a lot of new friends here, you can live here if you want,’ and just give them an overall fun experience.

Kim Desotell, Phuture Phoenix Director
As far as the field trip day and Phuture Phoenix Day, we hear lots of great comments from the young people that were involved. First of all, their eyes are wide open now about what college is all about. They certainly enjoy seeing the classrooms and the learning atmosphere. But they walk away with a better idea about some of the rituals and routines and traditions on our UWGB campus. And just in some of those stories that the fifth graders hear about and learn about, it helps to connect them with the potential of what college may mean for them. And the way in which our UWGB students become connected here to our college campus.

They are also very thrilled to say that perhaps college is for them.

We had one young, fifth grade girl that jumped off the bus this past field trip day. She had big bright eyes and a big smile on her face. And the first thing she said to us was, ‘I’m here. I’m just seven years early.’

Students yelling
Phuture Phoenix! Phuture Phoenix! Phuture Phoenix!


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