Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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Alder first-graders dare to dream at Southeast Center

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Alder students take a spin with hula hoops in the PCC dance studio.

Alder students take a spin with hula hoops in the PCC dance studio.

On May 2, two yellow school buses full of first grade students from Alder Elementary School pulled up to the Southeast Center for a hands-on career exploration day with Portland Community College. As the 6 and 7 year-olds piled out of the buses, 18 PCC student volunteers and 10 staff members gave them a warm welcome. Most of the first-graders were decked out in kid-sized PCC t-shirts and were excited to learn about careers and everything that the college offers.

The Southeast Center hosted the 120 first-graders from Alder as part of PCC’s partnership with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. Every student at the elementary is a ‘dreamer,’ and completing high school and post-secondary education is in their future as they get exposed to higher education and careers.
The students rotated through several sessions that included art, dancing and student life. They got to check out the college’s Fire Protection Technology Program, meet students in full firefighter gear and learn about fire safety. PCC students enrolled in the Biology and Management of Zoo Animals Program presented interactive and workshops on birds (they even brought a spotted owl with them). The first-graders were excited to visit some of the new science labs at the center, where a geology instructor led them through experiments with minerals.
As their field trip came to a close, many of the first-graders left saying “See you at college!” and “I love PCC!” With that level of energy and enthusiasm, these future college students should have a bright future ahead of them.
  • A Biology and Management of Zoo Animals Program instructor, shows off one of her feathered friends.
  • A Fire Protection instructor and student share their stories with first graders.
  • Alder students take a spin with hula hoops in the PCC dance studio.

About Christine Egan

Christine Egan is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and has a graduate degree in land use and environmental planning. Prior to her Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic, she lived in Washington DC serving as a legislative advisor to ... more »

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