WBU planting seeds for higher education

Release Date: May 20, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – With an ever-increasing need to stress the importance of higher education, officials at Wayland Baptist University began a new tradition this week in an attempt to help elementary school students understand the benefits of attending college.

Director of Development Hope English, along with Wayland students Todd Jeffress, Brett Cook and Melanie Vasquez, visited every fourth-grade class in Plainview, presenting students with a t-shirt, in celebration of their fourth-grade graduation and stressing the importance and availability of higher education. The white t-shirt features Wayland’s new athletics logo with the slogan “Fourth grade today, Wayland tomorrow!”

“We want to try to plant the seeds early in these young kids, letting them know that there is a quality university in their own back yard,” English said. “We want to challenge them to start thinking about their education goals and to start working toward those goals. We also want them to know that everyone has the opportunity to go to college, even if they think they can’t afford it. We want them to know there is money available for them, if they will work hard and apply themselves.”

English spoke to each group of fourth graders, challenging them to do four things: work hard, make good grades, don’t miss school unless absolutely necessary, and stay out of trouble.

“There are a lot of people who believe in the importance of education and if you work hard and focus on your schoolwork, they want to give you scholarships to help pay for college,” English said. “But you have to earn it. No one else can do it for you.”

As Director of Development, English raises scholarship money for future Wayland students. She explained how this money helps deserving students by paying for part of their education. She stressed, however, that these scholarships only go to those students who work hard and exhibit strong character, and who need a little extra help in order to pay for their education.

As English finished talking to the groups, the Wayland students presented each fourth grader with his or her own t-shirt.

“The important thing is, we just want them to start thinking about college,” English said. “We really don’t care where they go to school. We would like them to consider Wayland, but more importantly, we just want them to go to college.”