RALEIGH — Students at Bugg Elementary School are already thinking about college applications.
The arts and science magnet school in Southeast Raleigh hosted its inaugural College Bound Day, a daylong event Tuesday designed to encourage students to set goals for college and careers.
More than 300 college students from N.C. State and Shaw universities and St. Augustines College volunteered to spend the day with Bugg students to tell the elementary kids about their college experiences. Principal Michael Armstrong, who joined Bugg in August, said the goal is to show students that college is an option for them and to give them a better understanding of the journey to get there.
The event was also a reward for the students, who took tests last week that prepare them for state-mandated exams.
I told students that after they worked hard to do well on their tests last week that we would celebrate, Armstrong said.
All last week, Armstrong said, students had been shouting in unison the motto that lead up to Tuesdays event: When I get to college I will exponentially multiply my choices.
Activities at College Bound Day were divided into three stations: academics, arts and athletics. Groups of students visited each station for about an hour and a half.
Part of the academic station involved filling out college applications designed to fit each grade level. With the help of college student volunteers, Bugg students answered questions about their favorite subjects, end-of-grade exam scores and extracurricular activities.
While filling out his application, fifth-grader Giovani Mbata said that he wanted to go to UNC-Chapel Hill.
My mom and dad went there, and Id like to go where they went, said Giovani, 11. Also, my favorite basketball team is there, so maybe I could join the team.
Second-grader Elijah Woods also wants to attend UNC, but to study singing and acting.
Ive heard a lot about it, and I think its a very outstanding school from what Ive heard, said Elijah, 8.
Third-grade teacher Jennifer Joyner read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the story of a caterpillar that grows into a butterfly, to her group of first- and third-graders. Then students made posters depicting images from the story that represent their own growth from elementary students to college graduates.
Outside, students visited the athletics station where they could participate in a mile run, play tennis or rugby, or practice ball-handling skills, all while learning the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and setting goals.
Volunteer Femmy Perry, a former member of the Womens Tennis Association and one of the organizers of College Bound Day, wanted to include an athletics component to the days events to teach kids about the benefits of sports, both for a healthy lifestyle and for potential college scholarships, she said.
For the past two years, Magnet Schools of America named Bugg a Magnet School of Excellence. Since 1995, Bugg has been an A+ School, a title given to high achieving arts-based schools in North Carolina.
But unique events like College Bound Day are what make Keshia Smith happy to keep sending her son, Elijah Woods.
Bugg is so driven on the childrens future in everything that they do, said Smith, who briefly attended Bugg as a child herself. I am definitely glad Elijah is here.