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Category Archive: Phuture Phoenix

Pictures from Phuture Phoenix 2010

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More 'Phirsts' for Phuture Phoenix

Article done by: UWGB’s Inside

Each fall, UW-Green Bay gets a little younger for a day or so as local fifth-graders visit campus on Phuture Phoenix Day for a look at college life.

The fall 2010 edition was special for its record turnout, gorgeous weather and the fact the program is now old enough that “alumni” — students who toured campus themselves as fifth-graders — help as mentors and tour guides. As always, it’s a fun experience.

“It was pretty cool to come here and see real classes studying and the view up in the library tower,” said fifth-grader Brooklyn Oleck, West De Pere.

For the students, it’s an opportunity to get a glimpse of college life.

“Went to the library, saw the Winter Garden, went on an elevator,” said Daniel Fiscal, a fifth-grader from Fort Howard Elementary School in Green Bay.

For the University, it’s a chance to reach out to at-risk students.

“It helps the University connect with the community in a very tangible way,” said Stephanie Cataldo Pabich, associate director of the Phuture Phoenix program. “It brings students, who might not ever have an opportunity to ever walk on a college campus, out here and meet a very welcoming campus community that really enjoys engaging with 10-year-olds for one day out of the year.”

Cataldo Pabich says this is a record-setting year for the program. More than 1,400 fifth-graders from 16 schools took part in the program. There were so many students, in fact, that for the first time they had to sit in the balcony at the Weidner Center.

This year, 91 faculty participated in the program, by far the most ever.

It’s also the first time former Phuture Phoenix students who are now students at UW-Green Bay, are giving the tours.

In 2003, Ka Vang was a fifth-grader at Danz Elementary School in Green Bay. She was among the first students in the Phuture Phoenix program.

Now, she’s a UW-Green Bay student and is giving tours to fifth-graders from her old school.

“I’m the first to go to college in my family so I never really knew about college until Phuture Phoenix actually. I never knew that there was school after school,” Vang said.

2010 also marks the third time Phuture Phoenix has been replicated. Representatives from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc came to campus to observe the day and get ideas for the soon-to-be launched Look Ahead Lakers program.

“Manitowoc is a factory town. It has always been a factory town where the expectations were that children would move into work in factories and on farms and many of those jobs are not going to be there for them and so we want to encourage them to consider higher education,” said Carol O’Rourke, project director for the program at Silver Lake College.

Silver Lake College joins Western Washington University and UW-Eau Claire in replicating the Phuture Phoenix program.

Cataldo Pabich says the continued replication showcases the success of the program.

“I think it says that this program is able to touch students and that’s the whole goal,” Cataldo Pabich said. “We’re able to help other people in other areas do the same for students that are at-risk in their communities.”

5th-graders visit UW-Green Bay for 'Phuture Phoenix' program

5th-graders visit UW-Green Bay for ‘Phuture Phoenix’ program

Program brings kids to campus, fuels ambitions

By Patti

Taken From the Green Bay Press Gazette:

October 13, 2010

Fifth-grader Alexandra Williams said she wants to be an artist and may some day attend the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay after graduating from high school.

“It’s really great,” she said about the college campus.

Williams, who attends Green Bay’s Beaumont Elementary School, joined hundreds of other local fifth-graders Tuesday as part of the Phuture Phoenix program to get a taste of college life at UW-Green Bay.

Phuture Phoenix is a program aimed at raising college aspirations for students from low-income schools. The program includes a campus tour as well as classroom visits and mentoring sessions to encourage students to do well in school and attend college.

More than 900 students from Green Bay, West De Pere and the Oneida Tribe of Indians schools visited the campus on Tuesday. The program on Thursday will welcome about 500 students from other districts, including Sturgeon Bay and Oconto.

“This gives them a sense of why they’re in school and gets them thinking about ‘What do I want to do?'” said Sheila Reynolds, a fifth-grade teacher at Keller Elementary in Green Bay. “We also have professionals come in to the classroom to talk to the kids about their jobs and what they studied in school. We’ve had someone from the FBI, a district attorney and a chef. The kids get really excited.”

Students wore neon green T-shirts with a Phoenix logo on front and the words “College Bound” on the back. They were escorted through campus by UWGB student mentors and visited art classes, chemistry classes and toured the student union, residence halls and more.

“It’s great that they get to see the options out there for them,” said UWGB student and mentor Emily Walker, who is studying education. “It’s great to see how excited they are.”

Phuture Phoenix, which began in 2003, has connected with more than 10,000 students, according to UWGB. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire started a similar program last year, and Silver Lake College in Manitowoc plans to replicate the program as well.

“We know a college education helps to break the cycle of poverty and that’s critical to (a student’s) future,” program Director Kim Desotell said .

Linda Acevedo, a teacher’s assistant at Howe Elementary in Green Bay, said the experience is good for the fifth-graders.

“It’s great they get to experience what college is,” she said. “They’re at that point in life where they at least start thinking about what they want to do in life. This is the first time on a college campus for most of them. They get to see how busy and big a college campus is, they’re learning a lot.”

Howe fifth grader Ricardo Perez appeared ready to sign up.

“It’s awesome,” said Perez, who plans to study science in college someday. “They have everything here. I love it.”

Area's need for Phuture Phoenix continues

Editorial: Area’s need for Phuture Phoenix continues

Taken from the Green Bay Press Gazette:

// The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix program is welcoming its largest-ever class of fifth-graders to campus this week, marking yet another milestone for this impressive initiative.

Co-founded in 2003 by Cyndie Shepard, wife of former UWGB Chancellor Bruce Shepard, the effort to raise college aspirations for our area’s young people has evolved from a beneficial but limited partnership to a large-scale community program. Three other college campuses — Western Washington University, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and, most recently, Silver Lake College in Manitowoc — have launched their own programs modeled after this phenomenal initiative.

Phuture Phoenix Day activities that began Tuesday and continue Thursday will have drawn an estimated 1,400 students from 13 Green Bay School District elementary schools and nine other area school districts. More than 250 UWGB students will have served as tour guides and in other roles to assist the fifth-graders, who come from low-income schools, and more than 90 UWGB faculty members will have opened their classrooms to students during the campus visit, Phuture Phoenix Director Kim Desotell said Monday.

This week’s activities are the most visible part of what the award-winning Phuture Phoenix program does to raise college aspirations for these students, many of whom would be the first in their families to attend college. Ongoing mentor relationships and tutoring offer the chance for UWGB students to further connect with the children involved in the program and build lasting relationships.

We are impressed with the way Phuture Phoenix has evolved, continuing its steadfast focus on helping our area’s young people — many of whom have never before set foot on a college campus — envision their future as students of higher learning. The program could have become less of a priority after Cyndie Shepard’s departure in 2008 — she’s since begun one of its spinoffs at Western Washington, where Bruce Shepard is president — but its champions at UWGB and throughout greater Green Bay ensured it remained strong and vibrant.

The first fifth-grade Phuture Phoenix class graduated high school in June, and more than 10,000 fifth-graders have been involved with the program to date. Also during the last school year, Green Bay’s Jefferson Elementary School — where 90 percent of students are economically disadvantaged — started a school-wide program in conjunction with Phuture Phoenix, aiming to reach kids even earlier than fifth grade.

Convincing youth to pursue higher education, whether at UWGB or elsewhere, is more important than ever as Wisconsin is at an economic crossroads and has a percentage of baccalaureate degree holders that lags behind neighboring states. Just more than a quarter of state residents ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, about the same percentage of degree-holders we have in Brown County. That compares with about 31 percent in neighboring Minnesota and 27 percent nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

We applaud the success of this program and encourage its leaders to continue to think big about helping the children Phuture Phoenix serves. It truly is a model for the kind of collaboration and innovation our community needs to help foster a brighter tomorrow for us all.


Silver Lake College selected to replicate Phuture Phoenix

For Immediate Release:  7 October 2010     Contact:  Robert Hornacek (920) 465-2526;

Silver Lake College selected to replicate Phuture Phoenix

                GREEN BAY – As the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay prepares for its annual Phuture Phoenix open house for fifth-graders, steps are underway to replicate the pre-college access program at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc.

                Silver Lake College was selected to receive funding under the Wisconsin College Access Challenge Grant to support replication of the innovative Phuture Phoenix program that serves low-income, underrepresented or at-risk populations, inspiring them to seek the benefits and values of higher education.

                “We see this as a valuable addition to our program, allowing us to extend our pre-college mission throughout Wisconsin,” said Phuture Phoenix Director Kim Desotell.

                The Wisconsin College Access Challenge Grant is a two-year $1.63 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education administered by Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, which will contribute an additional $819,999 in matching funds this year. Funding from the grant will be provided to both UW-Green Bay and Silver Lake College.

                Phuture Phoenix brings area fifth-graders from Title I elementary schools from throughout Northeastern Wisconsin to spend a day on campus as a means to envision themselves as future college students. Phuture Phoenix mentors — UW-Green Bay student volunteers — continue contact with many of these students in Phase II of the program. The mentors work closely with students in grades 6-12, tutoring and mentoring them.

                Since its inception in 2003, Phuture Phoenix has connected with more than 10,000 students, encouraging them to do well in school and dream of a future that includes higher education. The program was designed because Northeastern Wisconsin has a lower percentage of students in the state graduating high school and going on to higher education.

                This year Phuture Phoenix Days will be held Oct. 12 and 14. On Oct. 12, UW-Green Bay will host students from Green Bay, West De Pere, Oneida Nation. Two days later, the Phuture Phoenix program will welcome students from the Sturgeon Bay, Oconto, Oconto Falls, Bonduel, Bowler, Suring and Menominee Indian school districts.

                The Phuture Phoenix program was replicated last year at UW-Eau Claire with Blugold Beginnings using funding from the Wisconsin College Access Challenge Grant, and with the Compass to Campus Program at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash.

                With this grant the Phuture Phoenix program is committed to providing support to the selected campus during the 2011 and 2012 school years. That support will include face-to-face visits between campuses, and mentoring.

                “When Phuture Phoenix was created in 2003, Cyndie Shepard and I only dreamed of the possibilities this program could make in our local community,” said Phuture Phoenix co-founder Ginny Riopelle. “Now, with another replication, the program continues to impact youngsters across our state and beyond. We are thrilled to be opening more doors to higher education.”

                For additional information contact: Phuture Phoenix Program Director Kimberly Desotell at (920) 465-2992;

Editorial: Building our future starts with children

Article from the Green Bay Press Gazette-September 22, 2010

Collaboration and innovation are among the qualities that make greater Green Bay deserving of its most recent honor as one of the country’s 100 best communities for young people.

This is the third time in as many tries the Green Bay area has received the designation from America’s Promise Alliance, a national nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Officials on Tuesday announced our area’s inclusion on the 2010 list, a designation greater Green Bay also sought and achieved in 2005 and 2008.

Our area’s extensive application shows numerous reasons this community is deserving of the “100 best” honor. It outlines a variety of innovative programs and initiatives for children from birth on up, showcasing the depth and breadth of our commitment to the children of Northeastern Wisconsin.

“Through its innovative and far-reaching programs, Greater Green Bay is taking bold and effective steps to help their young people graduate and lead healthy, productive lives,” Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO, said. “Greater Green Bay serves as an example to inspire and educate other communities across the nation to tackle the challenges facing their city and children, and to implement initiatives that give them the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”

Green Bay was recognized for collaborative efforts such as Partners in Education, an initiative of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce that pairs business and educational partners throughout 10 area school districts. Such cooperative endeavors are part of what makes the Green Bay area a great place for kids, said Nancy Schopf, vice president of education and leadership for the chamber.

Initiatives such as the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix college readiness program also exemplify the kind of collaborative spirit that makes Green Bay shine. Phuture Phoenix will serve some 1,400 students from low-income schools in area districts this fall, thanks to the help of more than 250 UWGB students who serve as mentors, tour guides and in other roles, said program director Kim Desotell.

These are just two of the numerous educational, private and community-based programs and services that make our community great. Each is worthy and deserving of recognition.

This designation is a meaningful honor for our area, and we are heartened to know those who work on behalf of children will continue their steadfast efforts moving forward. The Green Bay Press-Gazette is contributing to this critical community focus, partnering with business, education and other sectors throughout our community for an effort we’re calling “Greater Green Bay: Where Kids Count.” This initiative seeks to raise the healthiest kids in America through a forward-thinking approach to the childhood obesity epidemic.

The “100 best” designation means something to all of us, whether or not we have children of our own. A vibrant, family-friendly community is good for attracting and retaining businesses and talented employees, and for overall quality of life.

Today’s kids are tomorrow’s work force, and it behooves us all to ensure they have a solid start