Sept. 21, 2002
More than 10,000 elementary, middle and high school students tried to stay cool as they attended this year's first "I'm Going To College" event. Temperatures soared up into the 90's at the Rose Bowl last Saturday as the Bruins hosted the Colorado Buffaloes. Unfortunately, UCLA fell to Colorado by a margin of 31-17, but the participants and kids all seemed to have a rewarding experience regardless of the game's outcome.
Students from over 270 schools pouring in from over 200 buses began filling the "I'm Going To College" fair area for the pre-game activities which included face-painting and a student-athlete autograph session with the UCLA Gymnastics team and the Women's Golf team. University Admissions Counselors and Early Academic Outreach Program Counselors were on hand speaking with the students and distributing academic information packets. Santa Monica Red Cross representatives were in attendance providing safety tips and brochures, and the LA Unified School District Police Department was present with their patrol van and squad car giving away Junior Police stickers to the kids. In addition, the Granite Hills High School Band and the Sharp Avenue Elementary School drill and cheer team performed for the youngsters in the fair area before heading into the Rose Bowl.
Over 75 UCLA students, alumni and ROTC volunteers joined together to teach all of the participants the traditional "8-clap", and make this "I'm Going To College" event a huge success. As a Red Cross volunteer stated, "(it was) good to see kids getting interested and enthusiastic about college at such a young age. It was a rewarding experience for all involved".
Operating throughout Southern California school systems, the program touches thousands of students each year. Participants are given the opportunity to gain a better understanding of college life and Bruin tradition. UCLA Athletics offers "I'm Going To College" activities at a variety of other athletic events, both on and off campus throughout the school year.
Debra Schneider, director of the "I'm Going to College" Program, and her staff continue to make this amazing program available to children year after year. The Sept. 21st football event was the first of the year. The remaining "I'm Going to College" events for the 2002-03 school year include:
November 3, 2002 - Men's and Women's Soccer Doubleheader vs. Oregon State
If you would like to involve your school with the "I'm Going to College" Program, please contact the UCLA Athletics office at (310) 206-5990 for more information.