Nearly 1,000 kindergartners invaded the IUPUI campus Sept. 29.
It wasn't the cutest attempted coup of all time. It was the 2017 edition of "Walk into My Future," a program that gives kids their first exposure to a university setting. This is early-early recruiting, planting the seed of college into the children's minds.
The boys and girls came from dozens of elementary schools in Hancock County, and they flooded into Carroll Stadium for a morning of activities that gave them early access to many of IUPUI's programs. There were soccer and basketball drills with student athletes along with arts and crafts and many high-fives with Jawz and Jazzy.
"Our kids get to come outside and experience the different things that college has to offer," said Michelle Takach, a kindergarten teacher at Eden Elementary School in Greenfield. "I think this is wonderful. A lot of times kids don't know what college is all about. This is a great opportunity for them to see it, get excited and use that energy to keep them motivated throughout their elementary school career."
Description of the following video:
[Video: Cheering at a pep rally and Jawz dances while 'IUPUI presents' opens in the upper left corner.]
Michelle Takach speaks: Our kids get to come outside and get to experience some of the different things that college has to offer. And also, just to be outside enjoying the day getting some activity and exercise, so this is wonderful. I was really getting the kids all hyped up how fun it is to be out here on the IUPUI campus, and the Indy Eleven field, and telling them all about our great city and the great team that we have here to back. It's pretty exciting hopefully some of them will get out and come and see a game, too.
[Video: IUPUI students and kindergartners celebrate a goal.]
Nick Anderson speaks: Trying to see a lot of goals out here. So, we have just been having a really good time. Good weather, so it's really, really fun. At a really young age it's good for kids to be able to come out here and see the campus and see what's in the future for them because everyone should be going to college. It's a good time, and it's a great opportunity to get an education. So yeah, it's awesome. I'm glad they're out here and it's fun to be able to spend some time with them.
[Video: More pep rally excitement]
Michelle speaks: A lot of times kids don't know what college is all about and what it has to offer. So, this is a great opportunity for them to see it and really get excited. And use that energy to kinda keep them motivated throughout their elementary school career.
[Words appear: IUPUI Fulfilling the Promise, iupui.edu]
[End of transcript]
The children were chaperoned by parents, teachers and principals. While the students were kicking soccer balls all over the same field the Indy Eleven compete on, they were earning savings for college via the Hancock County Promise, which stemmed from the Promise Indiana program, which fosters a communitywide culture in which all students have the opportunity to open a CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Account. The program strives to ensure every student believes they can have a post-secondary education and has their community's support.
With each class dressed in a different-colored T-shirt, a rainbow of activity was barely contained in the stadium. Basketballs were bouncing all over the track, and soccer balls flew way beyond the touchlines.
Nick Anderson, a center back for the IUPUI men's soccer team, helped get the baby Beckhams moving. Clusters of kickers formed, and he worked to keep the chaos within the goal lines.
"We're trying to see a lot of goals out here, and we're having a really good time," said Anderson, a junior studying marketing. "Soccer is an awesome sport; anyone can play. It's awesome to be able to play with them. It's great for them to come out here to campus and see what's in the future for them."
The kindergartners moved from station to station, filling their complimentary "Future Jaguar" bags with pennants, pictures of Jawz they colored, and other Jaguar souvenirs. They had a field day while absorbing the collegiate environs.
"I think the college kids are just as excited as our kindergartners," said Matt Davis, principal of J.B. Stephens Elementary School in Greenfield, as he laughed and surveyed the stadium full of activity. "But this event not only pushes our kids to think about college; it pushes our parents to think about funding for college. We know prices continue to go up."
Somehow, the 1,000-or-so tykes were herded into the Carroll Stadium bleachers for a pep rally led by IUPUI cheerleaders and upbeat music. Kids and parents clapped along and gave their best Jag roars. Hopefully, many of the boys and girls in attendance will be in those same seats as IUPUI students cheering on Jags soccer 12 years from now.
"Boys and girls," announced Scott Shipley, director of secondary education at the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, "the Hancock County Promise is your parents, your teachers, your community, businesses -- everybody -- wanting you to be successful when you graduate to move on after high school."