By John Lynds
Many educators agree that college preparedness starts as early as kindergarten. When the seed of education is planted at a very young age, many students will strive to attain a college education as if there was no other option.
At the Hugh Roe O’Donnell Elementary School on Trenton Street in East Boston Principal C. Sura O’Mard said teachers are already getting students thinking of college and planning how to get there.
“It is something attainable and there opportunity’s for everyone no matter what their financial status, race, gender or background is,” said O’Mard.
Last month the school held a ‘College Day’ in honor of October being National College Month.
“This should not only be an October event but an every day event at the school to begin creating opportunities to have students understand what college readiness means and start them thinking early,” said O’Mard.
Throughout the month, each classroom adopted a college and held daily events around celebrating college and college as an attainable goal.
“Every teacher then decorated their classroom doors with college paraphernalia and we had a best decoration contest that was judged by Rep. Adrian Madaro and Chief of Probation Tommy Tassinari among others.”
The College Month celebration ended with a rally and parade through Eagle Hill as each class celebrated their adopted college.
“The teachers and students really got into it and were marching and proudly shouting the name of their college,” said O’Mard.
O’Mard said the event went so well the school plans to expand it to a larger event next year that may include other public schools in Eastie.
“Children need to know early on that they are living in a mecca of higher learning and higher education with the best universities and colleges in the world that is right at their door steps,” said O’Mard. “We need to let them know that they have the opportunity to be part of one of these colleges and all they have to do is know they want to go to college and it can happen so easily for them.”
O’Mard added that the teacher’s participation in the College Day and their commitment all year round to college readiness has been crucial to the school.
“The big piece of this event was that it gave the teachers the opportunity to self reflect and share how they got to where they are and pass that along to their students as role models and mentors,” said O’Mard. “Now the teachers are getting passionate and are lining up field trips to colleges to expose them to the college experience. College is an opportunity for everybody not just some and we are trying to negate that mixed message that sometimes is out there. Grades are only half the equation, many times a college wants to see what you have to offer, what is unique about you and how you have contributed to the community to make a change or how you are prepared to make a change in the world.”