Second-graders go Gators
Arizona class adopts UF to learn about college
By Nicole La Hoz
During reading time, Julie Allums’ second-grade students gravitate toward “The UF Basket.” It’s a container holding pamphlets and magazines from the University of Florida that sits by a bulletin board covered in Post-It notes of information regarding UF.
The students’ biggest discovery: Gainesville is 1,915 miles from their school.
Every classroom at Ford Elementary in Tucson, Ariz., including Allums’ students, adopted a university as part of a schoolwide college project.
Before spring break, Allums paired students to send letters to seven of UF’s 16 colleges, including the Warrington College of Business Administration and the colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Agricultural and Life Sciences, Journalism and Communications, Dentistry, Engineering and Pharmacy.
“Dear University of Florida, we are second-grade students at Ford Elementary in Tucson, Arizona who are learning about how important it is for us to attend college when we grow up. Our magic number is 2027; this is the year we will graduate from college!”
When they returned from spring break, her second-graders found packages of Gator gear waiting for them.
“The kids say, ‘Oh my God, look at this!’ Our door, hallway, everything is just covered with UF,” she said. “All the kids know their lessons on college and how important it is.”
College of Pharmacy Dean William “Bill” Riffee, Ph.D., described Gator sports and UF’s colleges in his letter.
“Dear Ford Elementary Students, I’m so pleased that you are thinking about your future and planning for college in 2027. At the University of Florida, we have students who come from every state, including Arizona. We also have many students who come from other countries around the world. I am the Dean of the UF College of Pharmacy, which means that I’m like your principal.”
The letter came with Gator Pharmacy giveaways.
Allums said her students thoroughly enjoyed the letters; they’re sending “big thank you cards” with orange hearts and blue writing to each college.
“They all have an idea of what they want to be with the understanding that this could change a lot before they finally go to college,” Allums said. One student is deciding between meteorology and becoming the president.
“I know, and they know, a whole lot more about the school.”