Class of 2022 visits campus - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Class of 2022 visits campus

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Hundreds of young faces are on UW-Eau Claire's campus this week. They're fifth graders, learning what opportunities might be right for them after high school.

They haven't finished elementary school yet but they're already thrilled about college.

"They are so excited and so am I to see the college," says Amber Ford, a fifth grader at Stillson Elementary in Chippewa Falls.

One thousand four hundred fifth graders from across the Chippewa Valley are on UW-Eau Claire's campus this Wednesday and Thursday. They're being introduced to post-secondary education and why it might be right for them.

"Well, it helps you get a job so your career is good," says Haley Jones, a Stillson fifth grader.

"You can also meet new people," Amber says. "You get to see a new places and you get to have a lot of friends."

"So I can take harder classes to learn more and just to get a job--a better job," says Tyler Krebs, a fellow fifth grader.

This group came from Stillson Elementary. Their tour guides are college students, teaching them what they can study, what a major is and how to break barriers.

"Some kids don't believe that they are smart enough to go to college, don't have the finances so saying that you can do this and there are so many options for you to get yourself into college--that you don't have to worry," says Elsa Kraus, a UW-Eau Claire student.

Education leaders say now is the time to talk about life beyond high school.

"It's at about fifth grade when people start thinking about their careers--kids starting thinking about their careers--and graduating from high school," says State Superintendent Dr. Tony Evers. "We have to impress upon them that high school graduation is not an end. It's actually a beginning of furthering their education."

The students agree.

"If you think about it now, you can know what college to go to, what classes you want to take, where you want to go," Haley says.

"It's just more exciting than scary," Amber says.

Fifth graders today, thinking about becoming the class of 2022 tomorrow.

This is part of the Blugold Beginnings program. Grants and donations help pay for it. Students from Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Altoona and Arcadia are taking part.

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