Local Sixth Graders Learn about College Experience at Seven Area Colleges and Universities

RIT hosts more than 80 sixth graders from John Williams School No. 5 on April 29

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Kari Horowicz

Sixth graders from Rochester’s John Williams School No. 5 visit RIT each spring as part of the READ: Hope in Action program. Some of the sixth graders pose in front of the Tiger statue with Samantha Whalen, left, member of RIT women’s crew, and Shirley Bower, right, director of RIT libraries, during last year’s program.

Promoting the value of education and academic success are the tenets of the READ: Hope in Action program created by Rochester Institute of Technology.

The program partners RIT’s Wallace Center staff and student athletes with elementary school children to give them assistance in the classroom.

On April 29, RIT hosts sixth graders from its adopted elementary school, John Williams School No. 5. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the sixth graders will participate in a campus tour, lunch, games and a question-and-answer session in which student athletes engage the sixth graders about the college experience.

RIT has partnered with John Williams School No. 5 for the past three years. Thanks to a grant from the John F. Wegman Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation, the READ: Hope in Action program expanded this year to include six other colleges and universities.

Throughout the month of April, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, St. John Fisher College, the College at Brockport and University of Rochester hosted sixth graders from their respective Rochester city elementary schools. The visits are the culminating event of the READ: Hope in Action program. It started with the Giant Read last November where student athletes and staff members from all seven colleges visited their elementary schools and read to all the first graders.

READ: Hope in Action launched in 2007 under the vision of Chandra McKenzie, RIT assistant provost of academic affairs, in collaboration with Lou Spiotti, RIT director of athletics and recreation.

Among RIT’s group of dedicated volunteers at School No. 5 is Kevin Rattigan, a member of the RIT’s men’s lacrosse team. Rattigan, an international studies major from Chicago, came up with the idea to get other Rochester-area universities and colleges involved in the program.