A group of 20 Oakridge Elementary School fourth and fifth graders recently visited Marymount University to explore study and career options and discover that college is possible for them. The Arlington children, all from diverse ethnic backgrounds, were treated to a variety of engaging projects to get them thinking about their future. These included learning about the college application process and financial aid, and conducting online research on majors and designing a poster to highlight details about one field.
T.H.E. (Toward Higher Education) Academy, which brought the Oakridge children to campus, is a collaborative effort of Marymount's Education Department, International Student Services, and Latino Student Association. Its purpose is to reach out to Arlington County school children who have few college role models in their lives. Master of Education candidates, working under the guidance of Professor Ana Lado, organized the learning activities, while international students coordinated the logistics and had lunch with the children – explaining their own path to college.
Oakridge counselor Anne Terwilliger worked closely with the children who participated, preparing them for the field trip so that they could make the most of the experience. Anoma Hapangama, another Oakridge counselor, was delighted with the program’s results. She explains, “We had a lot of kids that weren't sure about college as even an option, and I can confidently say they are highly considering it now. Our kids enjoyed the experience so much, and they sang the college song all the way back to Oakridge!”
Fourth grader Matthew Parraga already has an idea what he’d like to study at college – “Paleontology!”
Marymount graduate student Karishma Patel of Herndon, VA, who is pursuing her M.Ed. with licensure in Secondary English and English as a Second Language, assists fourth grader Matthew Parraga with his research on majors.