The University of Nevada, Reno and Clayton Pre-AP Academy collaborated for the ninth annual College Day pep rally Friday, Sept. 27. During the event, University faculty and students encouraged the middle-school students to get excited about going to college. All students received a "Nevada Wolf Pack Future 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 proud of our nine year partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno,” Clayton Principal and University Alumnus Bruce Meissner said. "In these nine years, we have motivated and inspired our students to set goals on going to college, and discover what opportunities are available to them locally. This year marks the first year the students who attended this assembly will be graduating from college. This assembly makes such an incredible impact on our students.”
Meissner welcomed the students to the assembly and then introduced ASUN Director of Legislative Affairs Joko Cailles, who spoke about determination and the will to achieve any goal a student sets their mind to.
Nevada Women's Head Basketball coach Amanda Levens and four of her student athletes, Marguerite Effa, Emma Torbert, Jacquelynn Nakai, and Nia Alexander were introduced next. The student athletes spoke about respecting others, working hard, learning from mistakes and responding positively to negative setbacks. Coach Levens provided a motivating message with points about diversity, inclusion and working hard, and echoed Cailles’ point about being determined.
“I want you to remember why you are here,” Meissner said in his closing remarks to his students. “You get to create your own future. When you walk through these doors, I want you to focus on being the best student you can be. Through hard work and determination, these goals can become your reality.”
The event also featured a video slideshow and a dance-off between the Nevada and Clayton mascots.
From Clayton Middle School to the University of Nevada, Reno
Clayton Middle School students Addy and Aubrey were excited about the assembly.
“This assembly has been so fun,” said Addy. “It’s also just really cool to get a free T-shirt; I can’t wait to go to college.”
Addy is debating between attending Brigham Young University or the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I had a lot of fun today,” Aubrey said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future. But, I’m pretty sure I want to go to college because this assembly was really fun.”
Reno High School student Natalie Mastick attended Clayton Middle School from 2016-2018.
“I remember attending the assembly one year,” Mastick said. “It was the most exciting day we had. I’ve pretty much always wanted to go to the University of Nevada, Reno, and I want to study something related to math.”
Mastick, a member of FYRE Robotics, a local, competitive robotics team for youth, offered potential ways that the University could further encourage middle school students.
“It would be cool if the University helped create another assembly to showcase their different colleges and majors, “Mastick said.
A current undergraduate at the University, Shanna Lapiana, attended Clayton Middle school from 2011-2013.
“Clayton’s College Day was arguably one of the best assemblies we had my 8th grade year,” Lapiana said. “I remember loud pumping music, an enthusiastic dancing wolf, and my heart swelling with excitement. I remember sitting next to my friends envisioning myself in nursing school; it was probably the first time I pictured a future for myself. And, the odd part is: I didn’t feel scared. I felt empowered and ready to just walk out of that gym and put on a stethoscope. That assembly was fundamental in guiding me towards enrollment. I just have never felt more inspiration than I did that day.”
Lapiana is interested in becoming a nurse, and she is currently taking classes on human development and sociology.
“College is great and, though time has passed and new factors and hobbies have entered my life, I still want to be a nurse,” Lapiana said. “ I know many people get discouraged by the thought, 'do I want to do this for the rest of my life', and, honestly, taking your time in college and venturing into the number of interests you may have will really help. I’m simply just so fascinated by all of what I’ve learned in college. I’ve known nursing to be an occupation filled with surprises and caring for diverse groups of people, but these classes put it into a new light.”