Mrs. Salena Aragon’s class of 22 second grade junior Runnin’ Rebels at H.T. Jaramillo Community School in Belen, NM knows as much about UNLV as many incoming freshmen. They’ve learned the fight song, follow Rebel athletics, and can pinpoint Las Vegas on a map. Past students have even made a point of visiting the campus during a vacation.
Jaramillo Community School is the sole New Mexico school participating in the No Excuses University (NEU) network of schools. NEU provides a framework for improving school outcomes based on the belief that all children, even those living in poverty and English Language Learners, can succeed in school and aspire to college. Administrators, teachers, and staff use NEU methodology to positively transform the culture of their schools.
This is the fourth year in a row Mrs. Aragon’s second graders have represented UNLV. The class uses UNLV as a springboard for discussions and projects centered on college readiness, high academic standards, and goal setting. Community2Campus, Admissions and Recruitment, and University Communications put together a university “care package” for the junior Runnin’ Rebels. This year’s box of goodies included university pennants, stickers, backpacks, pencils, and coloring books among other items generously provided from across campus.
In a note to Community2Campus Executive Director, Dr. Liz Baldizan, Mrs. Aragon expressed her gratitude toward UNLV, writing, “Every year my junior Runnin’ Rebels have enjoyed being a part of your school. The students have loved learning about different colleges, hearing their fight songs, finding their locations, but most of all learning that college is an option for them. The students are leaving confident that no matter what, college is attainable for them. It is awesome to see.”
Connecting with the community and inspiring students of all ages to pursue their goals is one of the things staff in the Division of Educational Outreach does best. Kudos to everyone who participated on this project!