Blugold Beginnings welcomes area 5th graders to campus

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Fifth graders from all around the Chippewa Valley got to experience college life Thursday at U-W Eau Claire.

This is the third year U-W Eau Claire has given area fifth graders complete access to the campus through the Blugold Beginnings program. The program’s goal is to show the kids that going to college is possible no matter what.

About 1,400 students from Altoona, Arcadia, Chippewa Falls, and Eau Claire area school districts took part in a day long interactive tour of the U-W Eau Claire campus. They got to experience all facets of college life like attending classes and seeing chemistry and physics demonstrations, dressing up and putting on theater productions, and even checking out residence halls.

The day started off with an opening ceremony where two alumni of U-W Eau Claire spoke as well as state superintendent Tony Evers.

"The State Superintendent shared the message of the importance of a high school education, rigorous courses, getting good grades, and preparing yourself for post secondary education.", said Blugold Beginnings director, Lori Thesing-Ritter

3,500 UWEC students helped out with the event including some students who had been part of the Blugold Beginnings program in high school like student volunteer Samy Samara Gaitan

"It definitely is a really good, really fun experience. I know that I have learned a lot from the Blugold Beginnings program and I want to be able to share that with others."

The good news is that the help from Blugold Beginnings doesn't just stop with today's events.

"Bluegold Beginnings is a comprehensive pre-college college education program that starts with students in elementary school and works with them through middle and high school to help prepare them for college, we work with them to apply whether it be at U-W Eau Claire or other schools to be able to get a post secondary education, and we also work with them when they come to U-W Eau Claire in a learning community to make sure they successfully graduate college.", explained Thesing-Ritter.

Each year they want to make this event bigger and better. In only three years, the event has gone from 65 students participating to 1,400 fifth grade students.

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