Clayton Middle School, a Pre-Advanced Placement Academy in Reno, sets aside its uniform policy one day per week and allows students to wear college and university gear. These "College Days" are intended to help Clayton's nearly 700 students visualize themselves as college students.
After learning about the Clayton initiative last year, the University's Student Services Division decided to show their support - for the second year in a row - in a big way. At an all-school assembly Oct. 25, every sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Clayton student was presented a University of Nevada, Reno T-shirt, donated by the student-owned store, the Nevada Wolf Shop.
"Clayton Middle School has come up with a fun way to encourage students to envision themselves attending college, and we are excited to support their 'College Day' spirit," said Marcelo Vazquez, associate dean of students at the University. "The sixth-grade and middle-school years are the ideal time to reach out and help young scholars prepare themselves for higher education. We want these students to know their options include the 'tier-one' University right here in their hometown."
College Day is usually every Friday at Clayton Middle School, which is when students wear their college shirt. Due to the Nevada Day holiday observed, the school held College Day on Thursday.
Vazquez; ASUN Chief of Staff Erik Edgington; Nevada Women's Basketball Coach Jane Albright and three of her team's student athletes; Nevada Men's Basketball Coach David Carter; Nevada cheerleaders; Nevada Wolf Pack mascot "Alphie" and several University faculty and staff members helped distribute the T-shirts, along with teachers and staff from Clayton and parent volunteers.
"We talk often to our students about the importance of preparing for college and the value of attending college," Clayton Middle School Principal Bruce Meissner said. "We want our students to have fun and get excited about UNR."
The morning's speakers definitely pumped up the crowd in the school's gymnasium at 8 a.m., leaving the students enthused about going to college. Vazquez, addressing the future high-school graduating classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017, imparted three important sentiments for the students to remember. One, he said, is to concentrate on academics.
"Go beyond the 4.0 grade-point average and reach for a 10.0," he said.
Second, he encouraged students to be leaders, and third, to be volunteers within their communities.
"We want to make sure that they understand what good academic skills are, as well as what good life skills are," Vazquez said.
In addition to supporting College Day at Clayton, the University of Nevada, Reno, with the Washoe County School District (WCSD), is hosting the 2012 College Fair from noon until 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4, in the Joe Crowley Student Union on campus.
"The Washoe County School District's most important goal is preparing our students for college and highly skilled careers," Superintendent Pedro Martinez said.
The University and WCSD are joined Sunday by the Western Association for College Admission Counseling.