Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 30, 2016

Walk into my Future

Elementary students gather on the mall during 2015's Walk into My Future

Elementary Students Walk into their Future

Zoe Vorndran

Bustling with anticipation and commotion, Manchester University welcomes almost 2000 kindergarten through third grade students from Wabash and Whitley County to participate in the Walk Into My Future event today.

They will arrive in two waves of about 900 students each and will join the college students on the mall. Here, they will receive a warm welcome from President Dave McFadden and other dignitaries and participate in various activities.

The Walk Into My Future event is designed to promote higher education to students who may know little about secondary education, and it is also a kickoff event for students to become excited about college. “It’s an opportunity to learn about college,” said Alexis Young, director of Conference Services, and coordinator of the event. “Some of them have never heard about college. This is the first time to get them excited about all the possibilities out there—why going to college is important, or the things we do at college and how that will affect the rest of their lives.” After this event, the participating students will launch a fundraising campaign to jump-start their college savings through the College Choice 529 fundraising. In order to help the students save for college, Parkview Hospital is willing to match every $25 that the student puts into his or her account. 

East Street is closed to allow the groups of students to cross the street safely and participate in the student-led stations. There are 27 stations lined up to host two elementary classes per every 15-minute rotation. The stations will provide interactive activities to engage students and teach new and exciting things. For example, the music department is inviting the young pupils go into Wine Recital to create music with various objects. The Business students are setting up a lemonade stand to represent a small business, and all the children will receive a penny to buy a cup of lemonade.

Today marks the fourth consecutive year that Manchester has hosted the event. “Four years ago, the Wabash County YMCA brought this initiative to us and wanted us to be their premiere partner,” Young said. “I was brought in this because I love connecting the community and the campus. Because I am from North Manchester and I am on the North Manchester Chamber Board, any chance that I can get to connect them and build that relationship, I want to be involved in that.”

This campus-wide event takes more than 200 student volunteers to help organize. About 100 volunteers help the elementary students, and the rest assist with the student-led booths. Nicola Jones and Kim Reineohl, who both work in admissions, helped Young recruit volunteers and inform the staff about the event. Even though planning and organizing the event was a hectic and long-term commitment, there are benefits and rewards. “My favorite part of this is the excitement that I see in the kids,” Young said. “It’s surprising how many families that live in Wabash and Whitley Counties have never set foot on our campus. That’s exciting that they are being introduced to our campus. But it’s also the excitement of the kids when they learn something new.”