Elementary school may seem a little early to start thinking about college, but Sampson County Schools and Campbell University does not think so. They want even these young students to begin planning for life after high school.
On Monday, Dec. 3, bus loads of Sampson County fifth-graders arrived at Campbell University for the third annual Women’s Basketball Team Elementary Education Day. The free event is a fun, educational and, hopefully, inspiring day where young students are given a glimpse into college life, organizers note.
“Sampson County Schools is excited to be a part of this event. We are very appreciative of Campbell University for giving our students the opportunity to see a college atmosphere,” says Dr. Ethan Lenker, superintendent of Sampson County Schools. “Hopefully this experience will inspire kids to seek post-secondary opportunities and reach their maximum potential.”
There was maximum energy in Campbell’s Gore Arena as everyone took their stadium seats Monday. Students viewed videos about Campbell students from all over the world and learned what a typical college student’s day is like. They also heard from a Campbell admissions officer about how important it is to prepare for college.
“It is a fun day for the kids, but they also get to see what their future can hold if they work hard,” points out Carrie White, Roseboro Elementary teacher. “Most of the kids wouldn’t get the opportunity to see all this if it wasn’t for days like today.”
WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel was on hand to educate the children on how he observes the weather and makes his forecasts. Fishel also shared how he turned his childhood fascination with weather into a college major and eventually into a career. He encouraged the fifth-graders to begin thinking about their interests and considering how the things they enjoy could lead to a job.
Plain View Elementary teacher Demi Gaster considers such speakers the most beneficial part of the day. “Greg Fishel encouraged the students to not only go after their dreams, but do what they want to do. And to be the best at it,” stresses Gaster.
The students were then treated to a loud and energetic pep rally. They sang along as Campbell’s dance team performed a holiday-inspired routine and gasped when the Campbell cheerleaders amazed them with daring lifts and high flying basket tosses.
“We always enjoy coming to Campbell. They’re so enthusiastic,” asserts Nichole Baggett, a Midway Elementary teacher.
Later, the kids cheered on the Lady Camels in a basketball game against the Columbia College Koalas.
“I appreciate Campbell for giving the students this opportunity to visit a college campus,” says Tonya Colwell, principal at Roseboro Elementary and a former Lady Camel. “It’s also a treat for the kids to see a Division I basketball game too. We’re especially looking forward to seeing Summer Leverette, a Sampson County native and Union High graduate, play in the game today.”
To the kids’ delight, Campbell won the game, 84 — 54.
With so many fun things packed into one day, it was difficult for the kids to narrow down a favorite. “I liked the cheerleaders the best,” says Trinity Melvin from Roseboro Elementary. Midway Elementary student Logan Patrick preferred the half-time games since he was chosen to compete in them.
Many children commented on how much fun the day was and how they wanted to return. This is just the kind of response that their schools and Campbell was hoping for.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 123 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.