Sunrise at the College
Most days, it's not just college students you'll find on the LCCC campus. In fact, some of the biggest smiles come from the youngest visitors when they step foot on Golden Eagle territory.
Students at Cheyenne's Sunrise Elementary School are learning what it takes to go to college. Sunrise and Laramie County Community College began a partnership in November 2016 on a monthly program to reward students who are "caught" by teachers, staff and substitute teachers acting safe, responsible and respectful at school. Students from each grade are selected each month for the excursion to LCCC.
The program was developed by the elementary school's TOPS (which stands for Tiers, Olweus, PBIS on Steroids) committee in an effort to improve student behavior throughout the school and in turn build a better atmosphere for learning.
Once they developed their idea and reached out to LCCC, Director of Admissions Sarah Hannes noted, "This concept quickly made me realize that we needed to partner on this, and by working together, we could open the doors to the future of these children."
And it's working! Linda Rochin, behavior intervention specialist at Sunrise, said referrals for poor behavior are down. Students are excited each month to see who gets to go to college.
What does a day at college look like for these students? They arrive in time for lunch in LCCC's Dining Room. Students get to pick from all the lunch options, including pizza, burgers, mac and cheese and, of course, self-serve ice cream. Following lunch, students interact with current LCCC students to find out a little more about college life.
While the activities vary, Sunrise students have played sports with LCCC athletes, completed a mannequin challenge, visited the horses in the agriculture facilities, and drawn outside with art students. Of course, they all leave with an LCCC gift, such as a backpack.
"It's awesome to not only hear students talk about their LCCC visit, but also that they want to go to college. Our students are given a tangible look into their futures," Rochin said. "These visits are opening up their futures, giving them a future goal that might not have existed before."
At each visit, Sunrise students share what they'd like to be, including doctors, police officers, veterinarians, gymnasts, singers, basketball players and more. For these students, the opportunities are truly limitless.
"We hope to expand their opportunities and help them realize that college is for anyone and everyone," said Hannes.
"This is probably the best partnership we could ask for. It's a great resource that we'll keep building," said Sunrise Elementary Principal John Broda. "It shows that LCCC is a community resource."