Posts tagged ‘No Excuses University’

The Penn Stater Daily — March 20, 2014

Spring is here-ish: OK, so the forecast in the northeast calls for freezing rain, hail, and temps in the low 30s — but after this brutal winter, even the calendar arrival of spring is something to celebrate.

Seconds to spare: The men’s  basketball team pulled out a win in last night’s CBI opener, a true nail biter vs. Hampton. “They fought us all the way to the end,” Tim Frazier told the Centre Daily Times. GoPSUSports has the recap, and the CDT has some great pics from the game — though I’m partial to this shot: an Instagram posted by @pennstatembb after the big win.

IM so excited: Take a look at the new and improved IM Building, courtesy of Onward State. OS’s Anna Ungar got a peek inside the newly renovated facility, which should be open for business by the end of the month. More room for fitness classes, three basketball courts, a colorful lounge area, and two revamped fitness centers are some of the highlights.


Class of 2029: Now here’s a story that will make you smile: A group of first-graders from Katy, Texas, already have their sights set on Penn State. Alyssa Hinchman’s class at McFee Elementary School in the Houston suburb “adopted” Penn State as part of the No Excuses University (NEU) program, which helps at-risk kids learn about secondary-education opportunities. Check out the classroom bulletin board (above).

Mary Murphy, associate editor

March 20, 2014 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

An Update From Our Kindergarten Fans in Texas

I got an e-mail yesterday from Meredith McCraw, the Texas kindergarten school teacher whose class has adopted Penn State as part of No Excuses University, a program to make higher education seem like a viable option. They celebrated University Night recently, and she and her students decorated their classroom with homemade posters and photos of the University Park campus.

“The school year is quickly coming to a close here in Texas, but I’m already looking forward to getting next year’s class as excited about Penn State as this year’s was,” McCraw writes.

Let’s hope this year’s students keep that connection as they move on to first grade!

Lori Shontz, senior editor

April 30, 2010 at 5:59 pm 1 comment

Texas Kindergarten Students Love Penn State

It's obvious that the 20 kindergartners from Texas put a lot of work into these Valentine's Day cards.

It’s not every day you wander through the lobby and find yourself confronted by a display of Valentine’s Day cards. Talk about perfect timing—even when it’s cold and snowy, it’s impossible not to smile at a bulletin board full of homemade cards on pink construction paper that say, “I love Penn State!”

The cards came from an elementary school in Texas, which seemed odd. That’s until I talked to kindergarten teacher Meredith McCraw of Bluebonnet Elementary School in Round Rock, Texas, who explained that she’s using Penn State to inspire her students to attend college someday.

Her school participates in a program called No Excuses University, and its focus is important: To make going to college an option for everybody. It was developed by a principal in California who realized that in some families, particularly poorer ones or ones in which the parents didn’t go to college, education beyond high school doesn’t seem possible. To make it feel real, classes “adopt” a university. That school is then featured prominently in the classroom. How can going to college seem impossible when you think about it every day?

McCraw’s principal, Lucy McVey, asked teachers last fall to pick universities to adopt. McCraw’s top choice was her alma mater, the University of Denver. (“No offense,” she says, laughing.) Her second choice was the alma mater of her fiance, Mark Asztalos ’98. She got her second choice, mostly because Penn State is bigger and better-known. And she couldn’t be happier. (No offense, University of Denver. … )

This display inspires the students in Meredith McCray's kindergarten class.

McCray wrote to Roger Williams ’73, ’75g, ’88g, executive director of the Alumni Association, who responded with a note and a box of goodies: paw-print magnets, pom-poms, postcards, fact books, pins. The kids were thrilled. They decorated their backpacks, their classroom, their refrigerators at home.

Now they use Penn State as a rallying cry. (You can get a sense by watching this video, which is just too cute even though our friends from Texas aren’t in it.) They let lose with lion’s roars and cheers, and they often repeat this mantra:

McCraw: “Why are we working so hard to get smarter?”

Students: “To go to high school, and then to college.”

McCraw: “But we’re not going to just any college …”

Students: “We’re going to Penn State! We are Penn State!”

Here’s hoping at least a few of them find their way to our campus.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

February 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm 4 comments

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