Kindergartners dream big at IUPUI

INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly 1,000 kindergartners flooded the IUPUI campus on Sept. 29 as part of the Hancock County Promise Program.

As one of four organizations to receive a grant from Promise Indiana, Hancock County Promise aims to foster a community-wide culture where all students have the opportunity to open a CollegeChoice 529 direct savings account. The program strives to ensure every student believes they can have a post-secondary education and has community support to achieve that goal.

At IUPUI, the students “Walked into Their Future” and were encouraged to envision their lives after high school. They engaged in hands-on activities, met college students, took a short campus tour and learned about possible careers or areas of study. Included in the stations the kindergartners visited were: making an IUPUI pennant, creating a book, learning about needs versus wants, playing soccer and bingo bonanza.

Each district or school pledged to the students that if they work hard, their community will work hard to help them be successful in pursuing their dreams.

Teachers prepared students before the field trip by showing a virtual campus tour, discussing goals after high school and talking about college.

Boyd Bradshaw, the IUPUI Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, stated, “For many of these students, this will be their first time on a college campus. We will encourage them to think about their futures and explore a sample of the vast range of professions available to them when they obtain a college degree.”

Mr. Scott Shipley, Hancock County Promise Director and Director of Secondary Education at the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, reached out to IUPUI and coordinated this adventure for the Hancock County kindergartners.

“We are pleased with the partnership with IUPUI and are looking forward to inspiring the kindergartners with dreams and hopes for their future,” Shipley said.

The Hancock County Promise program has six steps:

1) Kindergarten parents sign up online at HancockCountyPromise.org, and follow the email link to open a CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings account for the child

2) Receive $25 contribution in each kindergartner’s 529 account from community partners

3) All Hancock County kindergartners visit IUPUI and dream of their future

4) Kindergartners receive their own piggy banks at school, along with lessons from their teacher on saving for their future

5) Kindergartners find champions to donate to their 529 Direct Savings Account

6) Another $25 is donated into the kindergartners’ 529 Direct Savings Account by local community partners

The IUPUI “Dream of Their Future” activity is a capstone event for the Hancock County Promise program and helps implement the culture where the community believes a post-secondary education can be attained by all.