“Visiting the HSU campus is a major inspiration for our
students,” said Ramon Zamora, a teacher at Bonham Elementary School as he
accompanied almost 100 fifth-grade students on a daylong tour of Hardin-Simmons
University, May 2, 2014.
“Administrators at Bonham wanted their fifth-grade scholars
to observe different aspects of university life, hear personal testimonies of
the educational journey from university students, and enjoy various types of
activities available on a university campus,” said Dr. Renee Collins, associate
professor and chair of the Department of Educational Studies at HSU.
Collins coordinated the campus tour with various faculty and
staff members to highlight special groups on the campus, including the HSU
Spurs Dance Team and the HSU Six White Horses program.
Collins said Bonham Elementary’s principal, Mrs. Tina Wyatt, and Bonham
instructional coordinator, Mrs. Teri Corbett, believe that a university campus
tour helps students learn the importance of setting goals and being able to
picture themselves in the future.
Lindy Chittum, a Six White Horses rider and a senior
criminal justice major from Abilene Wylie, related the history of the famous
white horses to the students and encouraged young riders to one day try out for
the riding team.
“Our horse and rider team opens rodeos with fast-riding
routines, and we march in a lot of parades. One of the things we have to learn
as riders is to control the horse with one hand while balancing and controlling
a large waving flag with the other hand,” she told the fifth-graders.
Throughout the day, HSU education majors led small groups of
fifth-graders on campus tours to build mentoring relationships and to encourage
the younger scholars to pursue their dreams for the future. The experience also
helps the future teachers hone their own skills with instructing and educating
Children toured the book stacks in the Richardson Library,
experienced classroom technology, and participated in a lunch-time performance
with the HSU Spurs Dance Team.
“Getting to see what goes on at a university campus truly does motivate
our students as we encourage them to think about their lives just a few years
from now,” said Zamora.
“The HSU Irvin School of Education has a strong partnership with Bonham
through our Teacher Preparation Program and a reading summer camp,” said
Collins. “This is a way we can extend that partnership.”
Children had an opportunity to eat in the university student center,
tour the various schools and colleges on the campus, and see residence halls firsthand.
“They also visited the artifacts held in the HSU Cowboy Band Hall and
discussed the more visible spots on campus like HSU’s Shelton Stadium, the Brand
Swimming Pool, the Lou Morris Ellis President’s home, and the many other
special places on the Forty Acres,” said Collins.