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4th Graders Relish Million-Dollar Lecture

Students from Rosa Parks Elementary learned about SDSU during a visit to campus this week.
Students from Rosa Parks Elementary take their seats in Hardy Tower.
Students from Rosa Parks Elementary take their seats in Hardy Tower.

With orientation underway, Montezuma Mesa has had its share of visitors this week. But, a very special group came by campus on Monday—fourth graders from Rosa Parks Elementary.

The 140 Rosa Parks students visited the campus as part of the College Avenue Compact program, modeled after the Compact for Success in the Sweetwater Union High School District.

Million-dollar lecture

The field trip started with a college lecture by William Nericcio, professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. His 30-minute lecture, entitled “Why it is Worth One Million Dollars to Go On this Field Trip Today: An Introduction to a Rocket Ship to Fame and Fortune Called the University,” kept the children’s attention on their goal to attend SDSU.

Nericcio told the students that those with bachelor's degrees earn significantly more than those with high school diplomas. He started his lecture by quoting lyrics from a song played prior to his lecture, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

“It allows for that possibility that you’re going to mess up in your life,” Nericcio explained to the group. “A lot of strange things are going to happen from this day forward.”

Daunting statistics

Oscillating between Spanish and English, Nericcio said that only 57 percent of Latinos and only 55 percent of African Americans will graduate from high school in California, according to the Urban Institute. However, he quickly noted that they could go to college if they worked hard and focused on their studies.

Throughout the interactive lecture, the children laughed at Nericcio's jokes and responded to his questions about school.

“All professors should be forced to lecture to fourth graders from time to time to keep us honest,” he wrote in a blog preview of his lecture.

After the lecture, the children split into groups and for campus tours led by SDSU students. After a lunch break at Scripps Cottage, they attended workshops on top careers, the top five reasons to attend college and “College Jeopardy,” where their knowledge of university life was tested.

About EOP

SDSU Educational Opportunity Program and Ethnic Affairs (EOP) organized the program. EOP is committed to supporting first-generation, low-income students through innovative outreach and retention programs that encourage them to persist towards the goal of a university degree.

For more information, visit the EOP website at eop.sdsu.edu.

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