The University of Nevada, Reno and Clayton Pre-AP Academy collaborated for the eighth annual College Day pep rally Friday, Oct. 12. During the event, University faculty and students encouraged the middle schoolers to get excited about going to college. All students received a "Future Wolf Pack Student" T-shirt provided by the Nevada Wolf Shop and Associated Students of the University of Nevada, which they wore wear during the assembly.
"We are so fortunate to work with the University of Nevada, Reno to provide our students the motivation and inspiration to set goals on going to college," Clayton Principal and University Alumnus Bruce Meissner said. "This assembly makes such an incredible impact on our students. Through inspirational speeches from students, coaches and administrators, our students are learning what it takes to prepare themselves for college as well as what opportunities are available locally."
Meissner welcomed the students to the assembly and then introduced ASUN President Hannah Jackson.
"For me, college changed everything," she said. "I am a senior now, but I can still vividly remember what it was like to sit where you are sitting right now. Middle school was tough. I struggled with anxiety and insecurity. I worried a lot about the way I looked, and if I was going to be accepted by other people. I was even afraid to raise my hand or speak up in class because I was afraid that I'd sound dumb."
"Now I would be lying to you if I told you that I still don't struggle with some of these things - but the most important thing that college taught me was not to be afraid of failure. The way that I figured out what I really loved to do was through trying and failing."
Jackson left the student body with three key pieces of advice:
- Don't be afraid of failure. Stretch outside of your comfort zone and take on new opportunities.
- Be a nerd! Be a huge nerd. Something that you'll realize is that being smart is cool. Being passionate is cool. Once you try and fail at a bunch of things, you'll find those few things that you really love. That doesn't have to be math or science - it could be mythology, or fashion, or video game development... Whatever lights your soul on fire - learn everything that you can about it. Your life will be more meaningful because of it.
- Be kind. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself.
"The next few years of your life will come with a lot of discovery," Jackson continued. "Discovery of who you are. Discovery of who you want to be. And most importantly, discovery of what makes you truly happy. Going to college will introduce you to experiences that you never thought possible. It will introduce you to the friends you will carry with you for the rest of your lives. Most importantly, it will introduce you to your dreams and passions.
"The journey that you're embarking on will be exciting, enriching, and challenging. Whether you choose to be a part of the Wolf Pack or attend another school in another state, never forget that with a higher education you all will become the leaders of that future world."
Nevada Women's Head Basketball coach Amanda Levens and two of her student athletes were introduced next. Levens provided a motivating message with points about leadership, teamwork and working hard, and echoed Jackson's point about being kind.
The event also featured tunes played by the middle school pep band, a video slideshow, a dance-off between the Nevada and Clayton mascots and the reciting of Nevada's Law of the Jungle lead by Nevada cheerleaders.