Elementary students visit Webster: third and fourth graders spend a day on campus

Galaxy DJ Randal Herndo answers questions from third and fourth graders. The students from River Roads Lutheran School, visited Webster University on March 26. PHOTO BY MEGAN FAVIGNANO

Candace Carr, third-grade student at River Roads Lutheran School, visited Webster University with 11 of her classmates on March 26. After spending a day at Webster, Carr said she is considering attending Webster when she’s older.

“I like all the classes at Webster and the french fries,” Carr said.

Twelve third and fourth graders from River Roads Lutheran School, in north St. Louis, visited Webster campus Monday. River Roads visits Webster once a year as part of its partnership with Webster.

Yvonne Boyd, River Roads’ principal, said the children were brought to campus to get them thinking about their future.

Carr hasn’t talked to her parents about college, but said she thinks about it often. She said thinking about college is exciting.

“I’m thinking about it (college) now because I always have a dream that the door that I open will lead to college or my future,” Carr said.

Her father teaches at Harris-Stowe State University. Carr has spent a lot of time at Harris-Stowe and considered it for college. Now, she said she is thinking about Webster as well.

Webster’s Student Literacy Corps (SLC) started a partnership with River Roads school in 2002. Webster students tutor River Roads students.

After establishing the partnership, SLC Director Kate Northcott said she and Boyd, discussed additional ways Webster could help the River Roads students. Northcott said Boyd mentioned concern that college wasn’t on her students’ radar. Northcott suggested the students spend a day on campus. After the students’ first visit in 2003, the trip to Webster became an annual event for the fourth grade class.

Jordan Jones, a fourth-grader, likes to draw.

“I want to study to be an artist,” Jones said. “A drawing artist.”

Now, Jones is considering attending Webster when he’s older.

The River Roads’ students attended a modern dance class taught by Leonard Cruz, visiting assistant professor. Cruz volunteered his class to host the students.

“Sometimes when I’m only teaching college students I need to as well interact with kids because they bring a different energy,” Cruz said. “It was fun.”

The students’ day also included a tour of the library, The Galaxy and the East Academic Building. Jones said his favorite part of the day was visiting the radio station.

“I got to be on the radio,” Jones said.

The DJ at the Galaxy asked students questions on air. Then, the students ate lunch at Marlettos Marketplace.

Stefan Whittingham, sophomore biology major, ate lunch with the River Roads students. Whittingham is on the basketball team, which visited River Roads for Webster Works WorldWide last fall. The team read to, tutored and played basketball with the children at River Roads.

“I really like kids and hanging out with them, seeing what they like,” Whittingham said. “It’s a good experience.”

Whittingham said his coach told the team that some of the same students they tutored  would be visiting Webster.

Boyd said her favorite part of the visit was seeing the college students interaction with the young children.

“(I enjoyed) that positive inspiration that the kids get once they come on campus and how they are received as young students that will eventually grow up to be a college student themselves,” Boyd said.

Carr said she doesn’t know what she wants to do yet. She doesn’t think about high school a lot, but said she knows she will have to when she’s in eighth grade.

Sanai Davis doesn’t really think about college. She said her mom tells her, “You’re a kid, you don’t want to grow up too fast.”

Northcott said she hopes the trip puts college on the students’ radar. Dr. Benjamin Akande, dean George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, talked to the students. Northcott said Akande encouraged the third- and fourth-graders to think about what their interests are and what they can work on now.


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