Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kinder to College to bring Kent-based kindergarteners to campus

By Taylor Lunka, News Writer
Don’t be surprised if 5-year-olds with lunch boxes are on campus next week.

At least 100 kindergarteners and 35 parents, faculty and staff will be on campus this Tuesday from an elementary school in Kent.

As part of the Kinder to College program, 900 kindergarteners and 200 parents state-wide will visit colleges in the Puget Sound region such as University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University, Bellevue College and Green River Community College.

Pacific Lutheran University is one of the eight colleges participating in the program, getting a visit from local elementary school children.

Kinder to College is a program that encourages kindergarteners from the Kent School District to go to college and pursue their dreams from a young age.

The Kent School District is one of the most diverse districts in the Pacific Northwest. They have students from over 100 different countries.

"We want students to realize at the earliest grades that higher education is a real possibility and the goal of their time spent in Kent School District," said Kent Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas. "We want to plant that seed early and help our students grow that possibility into reality."

While these kindergarteners are on campus, they will have a variety of activities planned throughout the day. During the day, kindergarteners will get a campus tour, have lunch and engage in a learning activity, which will connect to Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) related fields.

The college visits are paid for by grants and donations from local and national businesses that, according to The Kent Reporter, recognize the importance of giving these students an opportunity to see what their futures could look like.

Each kindergarten student will receive a T-shirt to show they participated in the Kinder to College event and will be graduating in 2024.

The goal of the program is to create lasting partnerships with local colleges, increase parent or guardian participation to promote college bound attitudes at home and to expose children to STEM related fields.

For those who see these kindergarteners walking around campus, make sure to tell them hello. They may be the future of the Lute legacy.