Brittany Brookins, a sophomore member of the spirit cheer team, hugs a student from Riverbend Elementary during a pep rally with Brenau athletes and students from Riverbend Elementary School. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
Brittany Brookins, a sophomore member of the spirit cheer team, hugs a student from Riverbend Elementary during a pep rally with Brenau athletes and students from Riverbend Elementary School. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Local Fifth-Graders Get First Taste of College at Brenau

Nov. 18, 2016
Kenya Hunter

Future members of the class of 2028 had their first college experience Thursday when Brenau University hosted fifth-graders from Riverbend Elementary School in Gainesville for a day full of tours and activities.

Tami English, executive director of student life, showed the elementary school students around the Gainesville historic campus. The students enjoyed learning about the Math Study Place for Achievement and the Writing Center. They also toured some of Brenau’s sorority houses and the fitness center.

English said that the purpose of Thursday’s event was to show students the life of an average college student. The Riverbend students were excited for the experience. “We dissected pigs today, and I’m really excited about college,” said fifth-grade student Halle Pierce. Halle loves biology and dreams of being an OB/GYN when she grows up.. She is also considering attending Brenau University.

Toward the end of the day, the fifth-graders went to the Brenau University Fitness Center for a pep rally with the athletics department.. Brenau athletes shared the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character with the Riverbend students: integrity, responsibility, respect, sportsmanship and servant leadership. After a performance of the Brenau fight song, the fifth-graders tried their hands at various sports for themselves. The students broke into groups and shot free throws with the basketball team, scored goals with the Golden Tigers soccer team, practiced their skills with volleyball players and danced with the Brenau cheer & dance team.
“I’m glad we are able to give back to the community,” said Dominique Patrick, a junior mass communication major and member of the Golden Tigers basketball team. “We do this every year, and it’s one of the most exciting parts of my year when the kids come and have fun with us.”

Head basketball coach Kris Stewart agreed. “It’s really good for these kids to be on a college campus. A lot would be first generation college students, or don’t have any basis for what a campus is like. It’s important for them to see a campus and meet college students to help decide what’s right for them,” he said.

Fifth-grade teacher Michele Taylor said the athletes did her students a wonderful service by explaining the importance of staying in school. “I’m a huge Brenau fan because my dad, Billy Taylor from the security department, works here,” Taylor said. “The event today was athletic, academic and fun for the kids, and I’m glad Brenau was their first college experience.”

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100