Kevin Gordon said he enjoyed his visit to the University of Hartford Tuesday. It was a warm, sunny day and the young Bloomfield elementary school student was impressed by the library, but he probably won't attend the school because his favorite sport isn't played there.
"They don't have football," said Kevin, who is thinking about a career as a police officer.
Kevin, who is 8 and in the second grade at Laurel Elementary School, still has plenty of time to find a college that offers what he's looking for, and that was the point for Tuesday's field trip.
"In the district, we're always talking about going to college, and I thought, 'Do they even know what it looks like?'" said Paul Guzzo, principal of the Laurel School.
So Guzzo decided that a visit to a college campus for the entire second grade was in order.
"I just wanted to plant a seed," he said.
Guzzo said he initially contacted UConn officials, but was rebuffed and told that his students were too young. Then he turned to the University of Hartford, which already has a relationship with the school through Junior Achievement. The trip was arranged.
On Tuesday, about 150 students hopped on school buses and headed to the university for a tour that included the commons, library, a dorm and the athletic center, before a lunch at the baseball field and time to watch some of a game being played by the University of Hartford baseball team.
The students walked the campus with university students serving as tour guides. During a rest stop, the guides talked to a group of Laurel students about classes and the cost of books and tuition, which the guide said was "about $48,000 or $49,000 a year."
"What?" was the astonished reply of one of the students.
Samuel Johnson, who was among a number of adult chaperones on the tour with his granddaughter, Nayara, said it was good for her to see college at a young age.
"We're trying to get her to understand that this is a place you want to be," Johnson said.
Second-grade teacher Lynn Deblasio also thought the visit would give her students an opportunity to see how the college students who visit her class as part of the Junior Achievement program live.
"I love it, it's a nice introduction," said Deblasio, who also had some ideas for future visits. "I think it would be good for the kids to sit in a classroom and meet a professor."
Superintendent James Thompson said the visit supports the schools' focus on getting students to think about college long before they get to high school.
"Having our second grade scholars experience the regimen of a college environment, such as the University of Hartford, underscores the district's commitment to college and career readiness," Thompson said.