The school has been collecting college pennants and banners for the past few weeks and prominently displaying college colors throughout the school’s office and multipurpose room. The library is next on the decorating agenda.
“We want our students to know that attending college is possible,” said second-grade teacher Tiffany King-Martin. “Some of our students will be the first in their families to go to college. Some of our students are from families where one of their parents might not have finished high school, but we want the kids to know that even if college seems unattainable, if they work hard, they can go to college and pursue a higher education.”
So far the school has assembled a collection of approximately 150 college pennants, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, Penn State and Columbia, but Principal Wanda Apel’s wish list includes schools from all over the world.
“We still have some local schools such as St. Mary’s and University of the Pacific that we need to get banners from, but I’d love to have some international schools such as Oxford,” said Apel. “We also want banners from vocational schools such as ITT Tech and military schools like West Point. I’d even like to display banners from the online schools like University of Phoenix.”
Apel proudly displays in her office a banner of the school her son attends: Sonoma State University. She doesn’t have a target number of pennants she’d like to collect, but she’d like to have enough to eventually decorate all the classrooms.
Apel and King-Martin are asking former Lone Tree Elementary students to send in banners from the schools they attended. They’re especially hoping students from the high school graduating class of 2011, who would have been fifth-graders at Lone Tree in 2003, can send in banners while they’re away at college.
“We want to represent as many schools as possible, but we’d like to highlight the schools that our students have gone on to attend,” said King-Martin. “We want to plant that seed and get a conversation started. Some of the kids know the names of some of the schools because they’ve seen the football or basketball games on TV, but we want to give them a better understanding of what college is and what it means.”
King-Martin hopes that by talking about college at an early age, students will form a strong work ethic as the foundation for success at the junior high and high school levels.
“The time to form those habits is now,” King-Martin said. “College isn’t something you start thinking about once you get to high school. You need to set the goal early and push yourself to be your best.”
For more information about donating a pennant or banner to the school, call 925-706-8733.
Links: Planting the idea of college into the minds of elementary students is becoming a trend in education. The website www.iamgoingtocollege.com offers an entire curriculum for elementary schools to utilize to help its students start thinking about college.