8th Grade College Visits

“I could see myself coming to a place like this.”

For 8th grade students at Whittier and McGovern Middle schools, they will have multiple opportunities to visit college campuses and technical colleges – thanks to the partnerships our foundation has forged with SDSU, DSU, USD, Augustana University, Southeast Technical College and more in the future.

kids at touch pool

In 2022, many of our 8th grade classes took a full-day trip to SDSU.

These are emotional, exciting, inspirational and rewarding days.

Most 8th graders, especially those from low-income families, have never stepped foot on a college campus or spent time thinking and planning their future. Sadly, some don’t have great aspirations and many don’t think college is an option for them.

Because of the incredible generosity and funding support from John & Jeanelle Lust, we are working to change all of that.

The Promising Futures Fund provides grants to the middle schools to pay for transportation and other costs associated with these trips and works directly with the campuses to plan all aspects of the trips.

The mark of a successful trip? When you hear students say out loud, “I could see myself coming to a place like this.”

When an 8th grader says, “I don’t know if I can wait four whole years to go to college,” you know she was inspired.

One of the Whittier Middle School teachers joked that she practically had to bribe one student to come to school that day for the trip to SDSU. At the end of the day, the student said she was glad she came and that “I’m definitely going to college.” This student needed this experience to see what life can be.

Two 8th grade girls pointed to the USD Honor Roll sign on the wall and said, “we will be up there someday.” The students tell us they love these college visits and while they haven’t spent much time thinking about college, they are now.

We hear kids talk about going to business or nursing school or to become a cybersecurity expert. We even heard one say they plan to go to SDSU to learn to make ice cream!

An 8th grader from Whittier paged through the football program with the woman at the gate selling them and when they were finished, he said, “I will be in that program someday.”

This is what we want to hear!

Here are some of the experiences 8th graders had during the 2021-2022 school year:

– diagnosing symptoms on a (dummy) patient
– shooting hoops in a Division 1 basketball facility
– hearing from a panel of college students with similar backgrounds with messages of encouragement, inspiration and what’s possible.
– gaining an understanding of cybersecurity with a computer simulation contest
– hanging out in a dorm room to understand the full college experience
– walking through a full career fair to get a glimpse of all the various fields they could enter
– watched and cheered at Division 1 football & basketball games
– visiting with a member of ROTC about the opportunity to participate in the military while going to college
– lunching on pizza with SDSU President Barry Dunn
– tossing around footballs with SDSU football players
– building music through technology
– experiencing the USD Beacom College of Business and talk stocks with a professor