Last Friday, Clinton City Schools participated for the first time in the National College Colors Day, using the day as a way to encourage all students — from kindergarteners to seniors — to think about college and the place it could have in their futures.
“I was researching ways to incorporate college awareness into our school year,” shared Toni Blount, Clinton High School’s College and Scholarship coordinator, of how she found out about the nationally designated day.
Blount knew she was onto something good when she learned more about the National College Colors Day and set out to coordinate a fun and informational event to coincide.
All city schools students and employees were encouraged to wear college colors, be it the colors of their alma mater or the colors of a college or university they just like.
According to Blount, the day gave employees the opportunity to tell students about their college experience, including why they chose the college they did and what they liked best about it.
“Some teachers told me that they didn’t go the traditional route. They may have worked for a year then went to college or started at a community college then transferred,” said Blount. “I told them that was great because the students need to hear all the stories. They need to hear what we did as educators.”
“All the staff were extremely willing to participate,” praised Blount, sharing that some teachers brought in guests to speak to students about the variety of college and career opportunities that are out there for them to consider.
“Venetia Mann (marketing teacher at Clinton High) brought in a sports marketer to talk about career options and Kelley Storey, whose husband is in the military, had him come and talk to students about options in the military.”
In additon to personal stories and advice from the employees, students also received a variety of information to help them prepare for college.
“I had a table and a bulletin board with information on how to choose a college, how to write an admissions essay, tips for paying for college,” shared Blount. “We also had brochures from both North Carolina colleges and universities as well as other colleges across the nation.”
Although informational, the day was also filled with college-themed fun. During lunch, students competed in cornhole contests, winning items that are found in college dorm rooms like clothes hampers and school supplies. Employees also had their share of fun, enjoying a tailgating-themed party in the break room.
Similar fun was had at Sampson Middle School where students competed in a college door decorating competition and got to tour an ECU tailgating bus.
Students also participated in a lunch and learn. “We set it up in the cafeteria and talked with students about how important it is to start thinking about college,” said guidance counselor Katrina Boykin. “I also visited classrooms and gave the eighth-graders a college checklist. It doesn’t really start until the ninth grade but we’re trying to be a little bit ahead.”
“It’s never to early to start finding the college that’s right for you,” stressed Blount. “At the middle school, I’m already urging students to find enrichment programs they’re interested in at colleges.”
At the elementary level, students and staff enjoyed dressing up in the favorite college’s colors. “Their (the schools employees’) main goal was to start building those conversations about college with students at an early age,” said Blount.
“It was a big awareness day,” noted Blount. “I’m very pleased with how day unfolded. The students are asking more questions now that they’ve been given more information which I like to see because it means they’re thinking about college.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.