Elementary students get a taste of the college life

Roger Williams University hosts Bristol Warren students in annual Fifth-Grade Day

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More than 300 Bristol Warren students got a taste of college life Tuesday at Roger Williams University’s annual Fifth-Grade Day.

The students got the chance to tour the campus, checking out the labs, classroom space and living quarters the university has to offer. Many toured the marine biology laboratory, often a favorite among students at the 10-year-old event. Others toured the architecture building, the library, and the performing arts “Barn,” according to the major courses of study they’re interested in. The youngsters got the opportunity to speak with current RWU students to get a feel of campus life and what the university has to offer.

“I picked science and math. We went to the marine biology lab and saw all different kinds of fish,” said Lydia Whiteley, a Hugh Cole student who said she wants to become a doctor. “We learned about fish and posters and how algae turns the water green, and then they eat it and it turns the water clear.”

During a break-out session, Lydia said she learned about the cycles of the moon, scraping off the white cream on an Oreo cookie to represent the different shapes of the moon. The group also learned about a new planet scientists have recently discovered that may be able to support life. Lydia named the planet “Starbia,” and the group talked about what humans can do to help Starbia’s and Earth’s environment.

“We learned how organisms can survive on it. We can plant trees for more oxygen, and we can try not to throw trash around,” young Ms. Whiteley said.

Emma Sousa and Siena Sousa, unrelated classmates at Rockwell School, majored in business for the day, visiting the Starbucks on campus in addition to business classroom space. The two also checked out the athletics the university has to offer, learning how to tack in a sailboat, which was safely on dry land in the fieldhouse.

“We’re learning about the buildings and classrooms and we visited the statue of Roger Williams,” Emma Sousa said. “It’s a really great opportunity for kids to learn about Roger Williams and know what major they want when they grow up. It’s an opportunity and an experience that’s great to learn from.”

The pair also enjoyed seeing their student teacher, Cassandra Minogue, a Roger Williams student they describe as an inspiration. Both girls said they want to follow in her footsteps to the university.

“She's an inspiration in the class every day,” Emma Sousa said. “I really like Roger Williams. It’s a great school.”

The university has brought nearly 3,000 local students to the university in the 10-year history of the program, the only college program in the state focusing on elementary students, according to a university release.

“The purpose of the program is to provide fifth-graders with an opportunity to explore the possibility of future careers, set high academic goals by touring the campus and participate in aspirational activities,” the release reads. “The program stresses the importance of starting early in getting a good education and the academic background necessary to pursue their chosen careers.”

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