Columbia Elementary students get a jump start on prepping for college


“I’ve never had have one of those before,” explained Columbia Elementary student Austin Ballard.

It’s a college I.D., but these kids are only in first grade. More than 30 students from Columbia Elementary School in Joplin visited the Missouri Southern campus.

“You learn a lot of stuff to do like if you want to be something like a doctor or something else, you can go to a certain school to do it,” Ballard added.

The college week is a program the elementary school started five years ago, called “Operation: College Bound” — encouraging students to continue their education after high school.

Teachers say it’s never too early to prepare young minds for bright futures. 

“If you’re going to go to college, this is something we need to master now in first grade,” said Columbia teacher Sandie Rhoades. “We practice, practice, practice so that when you get to college, it’s easy and that’s always a lot of fun to see that change.”

A lesson teachers hope will stick with their students. 

“So you can be smarter and then you can know the things that you are supposed to know when you want to do them at that job,” explained student Adeline Sullivan.

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