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UW-Eau Claire news release

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Area fifth-graders to visit UW-Eau Claire April 26-27

April 12, 2012

EAU CLAIRE — Fifth-graders from around the Chippewa Valley will be on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus for the Blugold Beginnings Tour Day April 26-27.

Small-groups of fifth-graders will be paired with two college mentors for the day. The students are encouraged to ask questions about the university, discuss future academic plans and explore what areas on campus they find interesting.

Up to 30 UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff members will lead 30-minute interactive classroom demonstrations during the tour and help acclimate the students to campus.

All fifth-grade teachers and principals from the visiting schools are invited to attend. They will have the opportunity to attend a professional development session on the topic of unconscious bias in the classroom and supporting fifth-graders in their post-secondary journey. Approximately 30 community volunteers will assist with the event.

Dr. Beth Hellwig, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, will welcome the students to campus with the help of Jodi Thesing-Ritter, associate dean of students, and UW-Eau Claire graduate Juan Wilson.

Mentors will visit fifth-graders in their schools prior to visit day to help them prepare for what they will experience. Follow-up visits after the visit days also are planned.

"The Fifth-Grade Campus Tour Days are a great opportunity to introduce the idea and value of college to all students in our community," said Lissa Martinez, Blugold Beginnings program coordinator. "This is especially important for those students who would not otherwise be exposed to what higher education is all about."

The Blugold Beginnings program works with local schools to introduce youth to the benefits of a college education and pair them with caring mentors to guide them toward that future goal. A major objective of the program is to educate and inspire, particularly at-risk, low-income or first-generation students, and help them believe that a post-secondary education is important, attainable and available at UW-Eau Claire and other institutions of higher learning.

For more information about Fifth-Grade Tour Day, visit the Blugold Beginnings website or contact Lissa Martinez at 715-836-3651 or martinlj@uwec.edu.

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JT/JB/DW

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