Not Your Average Campus Visitors

For children of low socio economic families college is a topic left untouched. Last week however, first grade teachers of Harwell Elementary School brought their 84 students to tour the Texas Tech campus.

“They’ve been really excited,” Maria Gregory, a first grade teacher at Harwell, said. “A lot of them have lived here and have never even been on campus before and therefore it’s a new experience.”

Harwell Elementary was the first dual language school within the Lubbock Independent School District. Classes are taught with a 90 percent Spanish focus and a 10 percent English focus. The courses are intended to help native Spanish speakers continue their education.

“There’s been a lot of research where Texas Tech has been involved as well as part of that research,” Gregory said. “And it was the forefront to beginning this program at Harwell Elementary and has continued on for some other Lubbock schools in Lubbock ISD.”

Currently at Harwell Elementary there are two dual language classes and two mainstream classes within the first grade. Should students need bilingual assistance, the teachers are certified to help.

Gregory said the majority of the students present would be considered first generation college students, should they attend university, and some even the first in their families to graduate high school.

“They need to have an imprint and this is just a little imprint of the beginning to their future,” Gregory said. “That you know they’re setting for themselves, for their families. More of a tradition that we want to embellish in their lives as well as their families. You know to look forward to something.”

Alan De La Torriente, a teacher’s assistant at Harwell, believes exposing the kids to the  university at an early age is a great idea.

“I think a lot of people would think they’re probably too young to be experiencing this,” De La Torriente said. “But I don’t think they’re never too young to start thinking about coming to college.”

While touring the campus the students got a chance to visit the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center and the Student Union Building. With the help of the Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement office, the students got to meet Raider Red.

After schooling Raider Red on some dance moves the students returned to Harwell with the promise of returning for more tours of the university.

“It’s seems like its something they’re going to start thinking about doing every year,” De La Torriente said. “I think it was a great experience and it’s probably going to try to bring older students too so they can have the experience.”

About Claudia Tristán

News Director    —    Journalism and Marketing double major, Class of 2013
Claudia works to cover current events and political issues that effect the Tech campus. She plans to return overseas as a foreign correspondent.

%d bloggers like this: