Walk Into My Future introduces kids to college

Walk Into My FutureMore than 1,300 area elementary school students flew paper airplanes, built block towers brandished hockey sticks and hung out with Trine mascot Storm as Walk Into My Future returned Sept. 28 to the Trine University campus.

Pleasant, seasonable weather and clear skies greeted the visiting children, who participated in activities designed to introduce them to the idea of a college education.

Held in Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium, “Walk into My Future” is an annual event through LaGrange County Promise and Steuben County Promise. Second-graders from Westview Community Schools, Lakeland Community Schools and Prairie Heights Community Schools in LaGrange County participated in the morning, and first- through third-graders from the Metropolitan School District of Steuben County, Fremont Community Schools and Hamilton Community Schools were part of an afternoon session.

“Today puts an actual visual to what college is,” said Lisa Walter, business manager for Cole Family YMCA, which directs LaGrange County Promise. “The hope today is that students leave knowing what just a little bit of what college is and that if they want to, they can achieve a college education someday. Hopefully they will have exposure to several different majors that colleges offer and maybe it will get them thinking about something they want to do someday.

“Every year the feedback is that the kids really enjoy the day and it allows them to see what college is. Trine does a great job hosting and providing activities that keep the kids engaged.”

Susan Mueller, principal at Parkside Elementary School in Lakeland Community Schools, agreed.

“I think Trine has made this a very beneficial year again,” she said. “They pretty much have it down to a science. Trine is doing an excellent job.”

“The students are super-excited. They’re talking about maybe flying planes one day and designing. The majority of them have never stepped on a college campus so this is a really big deal for them — to see what life after high school might be like.”

John Curtis, principal of Pleasant Lake Elementary in the Metropolitan School District of Steuben County, said the event gives students the hope that they may one day attend college.

“The kids look forward to it,” he said. “The events Trine does, the stations that they put up are incredible experiences.”

The Promise programs also include helping students start CollegeChoice 529 savings accounts and encouraging families to contribute regularly to the accounts to help begin preparing for the cost of college.

More photos from Walk Into My Future are available on SmugMug.

Photos by Dean Orewiler