College T-shirt day spreads awareness (Video)

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Jan. 12, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 12, 2013 at 7:13 p.m.

Vickers Elementary fifth-graders Peyton Quimby and Megan Slayden wear their favorite college shirts from the University of Texas and Texas A&M on Jan. 4 college day.

Vickers Elementary fifth-graders Peyton Quimby and Megan Slayden wear their favorite college shirts from the University of Texas and Texas A&M on Jan. 4 college day.   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate

While high school seniors are preparing to fill out their federal financial aid applications, elementary school students expressed their collegiate picks through clothing.

At Victoria school district elementary campuses, parents were tasked to send their children to school wearing their household's higher education institute of choice.

The themed spirit day exposes the students to collegiate aspirations at a young age, said fifth-grade teacher Crystal McKnight.

"I think there are a lot of kids out there that don't know about college," McKnight said. "At least it builds up razz between the kids wearing rivaling shirts."

Vickers Elementary School fifth-grader Peyton Quimby, 11, blushed while revealing her father's alliance with Texas A&M University.

"He's the only one in my family that likes them," Peyton said, proudly wearing an orange and white University of Texas shirt.

The aspiring forensic scientist said she hopes to get scholarship money when she's ready for college.

In the Crossroads area, several scholarships are available to students searching for alternative funding avenues for higher education.

Through VISD's Education foundation, seven scholarships, ranging from $500 to $1,000, are up for grabs with a mid-March deadline.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has three one-time scholarships for about $2,000 each available to students living in Kendall, Comal, Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Gonzales, DeWitt, Victoria, Calhoun and Refugio counties.

Several other regional associations including the Coastal Bend Subsection of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Victoria Area Chapter of the Texas Exes.

"The money is there; the kids just need to do the work to find it," said Victoria East High School GO Center coordinator Debra Jamie. "They need to know that there is the financial possibility to go to college."

At the GO Center, students meet with counselors to discuss the best way to approach their post-secondary goals.

About 25 to 30 students joined the military through the Victoria school district last year, said Jaime.

"It's really nice to know that the military offers financial options for students that need help paying for school," Jaime said.

Her office is a billboard for colleges available to students. On her desk sits an U.S. Army mug, and on her walls fliers from Texas Tech University and A&M University add punches of color to her manila-colored office inside the school's library.

The key components to completing a college application include an official high school transcript and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

"It depends on the college, but it's not too late to apply," Jaime said. "Kids need to know that there's all sorts of financial assistance out there."

In 2010, college graduates averaged $25,250 in debt, up 5 percent from 2009, according to a report by the Project on Student Debt.

For Peyton, college graduation is several years away but she said she already knows the debt that awaits her afterward.

"My parents keep talking about how expensive college is becoming," Peyton said. "I'll probably have to get a few partial scholarships to help pay for school."



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