Campus & Community

Swimming pool a highlight on kindergartners’ tour of DU

Some students were especially excited to be on campus May 16 — they even spread their arms out imitating airplanes to get around the University of Denver as fast as possible.

Of course, it was the first time the kindergarten class at Brown International Elementary had ever seen a college campus.

“They had no conceptual idea of what college was,” said teacher Meg Torres. “When a big word was used [in the classroom] I would tell them they were using college words. All that kind of talking cumulated into this.”

Students in the Pioneer Leadership Program led the kindergartners around campus, highlighting the Ritchie Center, Driscoll Center, classrooms in Sturm Hall and Penrose Library (the youngsters were encouraged to use their “inside voices” for the latter two).

In a Sturm Hall classroom the kindergartners eagerly posed questions to DU students about bringing books to class and making forts in dorm rooms.

The young students were surprised to learn about some textbooks not being as necessary as laptops to bring to many classes.

Among other surprises that day: Students can study theater in college and not just science or reading, students get to watch movies in an auditorium in Sturm Hall (the DU Programs Board shows movies on Thursday nights during the school year) and Mickey Mouse has a connection to DU (his creator, Walt Disney, created former DU mascot Boone).

“College is awesome I think because you can go to a swimming pool,” said 6-year-old Theo. Many other kindergartners agreed that seeing the Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Ritchie Center was their favorite part of the day.

Theo’s classmate Alius said he is planning on going to college “because it’s fun.” These days, Alius is into science, excited to learn about animals like great white sharks and anacondas in practice for a future profession as “a snake hunter.”

The class had been discussing the doors college opens for the future, Torres said, adding that many of her students would be first-generation college attendees.

The kids said they realize college is important for the careers they have in mind.

“I want to be a doctor because they earn a lot of money,” said 6-year-old Isabella.

Seven-year-old Emma, a second-grader who wanted to come along on the tour, said DU will be her first-choice college to study science. She wants to become a high school science teacher because she loves working with liquids.

Although she said she planned on going to college before, she didn’t know much about it until the tour. “It’s good experience to see lots of buildings,” she said, noting that DU had “a whole lot.”

Emma also said she loved the idea of living in a dorm room. “I didn’t know your roommate can be like your family. [It] seems like they are the specialist friend you can ever have in college.”

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