The students traced the image of Knightro, the University of Central Florida mascot, though it will be 13 years before they could cheer alongside him as college students.
The 16 kindergarteners in Mirtila Quiros’ class at Pinewood Elementary School in Orlando crafted a model of the UCF football stadium during a two-week project stemming from AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college readiness program offered in area schools.
Guided by teachers, each of Pinewood’s classes, including its kindergarten ones, spent two weeks learning about a university selected by the teacher and created models of university buildings and icons out of craft supplies.
Corresponding to AVID’s goals to increase students’ learning and performance, the project exposed young students to college and inspired them to desire higher education in the future.
“We want to encourage the students to learn their ultimate goal is to go to college and not to waste time because they need knowledge to prepare them to be successful in life,” Quiros said.
A UCF graduate, Quiros chose UCF for her class’ project to teach her students about the university that shaped her education.
Quiros’ kindergarten class built replicas of UCF buildings and icons, including Millican Hall, Bright House Networks Stadium, Knightro and the UCF logo.
In Quiros’ classroom, a miniature paper-mache and foam version of Millican Hall sat next to a stadium replica made out of green poster board and masking tape. Plastic toy football players animated the miniature stadium.
Along with the models, students made a trifold display board with pictures of their university that featured historical facts, popular programs and noteworthy alumni.
After only learning to write months ago, Quiros’ class composed handwritten biographical paragraphs of well-known alumni, including Daniel Tosh, a stand-up comedian, and Brian Wheeler, founder of Tijuana Flats restaurants.
At the end of the two weeks, the students celebrated with “College Fest,” where they visited class displays and learned about the different universities.
“The students asked a lot of questions and were very excited,” Quiros said. “Many of them said, ‘I want to go to UCF.’”
For more information about AVID, visit https://www.avid.org/.