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Connolly Kickstarts Students’ Dreams with College Exploration Trip to Seattle
At Tempe Elementary School District, it’s never too early for our students to start thinking about college!
For six years, Connolly Middle School has offered an opportunity for honors, AVID, or ASPIRE students in seventh or eighth grade to embark on a trip to explore an out-of-state college. Connolly students have had the opportunity to visit San Francisco (2010, 2012, 2014), Boston (2011, 2013), and Washington, D.C. (2015).
This past summer, 18 students had the opportunity to visit the University of Washington in Seattle. Connolly decided on Seattle as the destination for the 2016 trip because the University of Washington is a Pac-12 school, which is a topic of interest for students who are motivated to pursue athletic programs.
The main focus of the College Exploration Trip is to expose students to the opportunities universities provide so they can start thinking about the next step after completing high school.
Robyn Buehrle, eighth-grade language arts teacher at Connolly, has been a chaperone and a part of the planning process for the College Exploration Trip for five years.
“Many students don’t know what they want to study in college, so taking these trips to out-of-state schools opens up their minds to programs and opportunities they may be interested in,” said Buehrle.
For five days, Connolly students and chaperones explored the University of Washington’s campus as well as visited important state landmarks. Students participated in a wide range of campus tours at the University of Washington ranging from the athletic programs to the music programs.
“The campus was so pretty and had a lot of art and music programs, which interested me,” said eighth-grade student Ali Giunta. “I was surprised at how many classrooms there are and how big the campus is!”
Buehrle believes that Connolly’s College Exploration Trips are integral to introducing the idea of higher education to students.
“We are a college-bound middle school,” said Buehrle. “The College Exploration Trips are a way for our students to become prepared to take the important steps needed to get into the college of their dreams before high school.”Connolly hopes to continue the College Exploration Trip into its seventh year for the summer of 2017. Buehrle is currently in the brainstorming stage for the trip and hopes to take Connolly students to a new destination next summer.