Wiley day

CatieByrne_WileyDay_Jessica Twitchell_3

Jessica Twitchell

Catie Byrne
Features Editor

Dubbed “Wiley Day,” on Saturday, April 23, the approximately 20 first-to-fifth grade students from Wiley Elementary School’s after-school program, African American Male Initiative, came to visit UNCG. Wiley Day Coordinator and UNCG senior, Jessica Twitchell, spoke to The Carolinian prior to the event, to preview as well as give insights into the inspiration and coordination of Wiley Day. 

“My major goal for this project,” Twitchell said, “Is to get kids excited about learning, to get kids excited about doing something that they don’t necessarily think is for them. So, introducing this new idea of ‘what you can accomplish, what can you as a student’ — you’re in elementary school you’re in middle school, you’re in highschool, where can you end up? So this is a place, this is a reality.”

Twitchell began her involvement with Wiley Day, she said, as a project, when the UNCG Guarantee Scholarship coordinator approached her.

“The coordinator over at [UNCG] Guarantee [scholarship program], and she said, ‘hey, I’ve been working with Rashard, who is at Wiley Elementary School, and is over at the African American Male Initiative, and this is an initiative that they wanted to happen, for quite a while, and it hasn’t been gotten to,’ and so I was kind of like, put as the person to make this day possible,” said Twitchell.

Wiley’s African American Male Initiative after school program, Twitchell explained, is comprised of 30 first-to-fifth grade Wiley Elementary School students, and focuses on creating a positive influence on the Wiley community.

Of her involvement coordinating Wiley Day, Twitchell said that AAMI founder, Rashard Jones, “Is so excited, he is excited about what we’re going to be doing, and, with the relationships that we have the potential to be formed.”

Twitchell emphasized that UNCG’s Guarantee Scholarship, a scholarship which offers low-income students the opportunity to attend college, was an essential inspiration for creating the event.

“Through programs such as Guarantee, [it’s about] showing kids that, it’s okay that no one in your family has gone to college or ever been there before, but you can do it. And then, on the community itself, [it’s about] instilling those values of getting an education, doing something bigger, just, pushing yourself to do something more than what is restricting you, that this is a possibility for you,” said Twitchell.

As a UNCG Guarantee Scholarship recipient, Twitchell explained that her participation with Wiley Day, was motivated by her personal experiences getting into college.

“And so, one of the requirements [of UNCG Guarantee Scholarship] that we have, especially for seniors, is to give back to Wiley Elementary, because of a partnership that was formed a couple years ago. And so, the senior class of guarantees, totally 15 of us, are giving back to Wiley. Hopefully, the juniors and sophomores who are helping out with the day, they’ll be able to, when they’re seniors or even before then, make those connections, visit the kids and become mentors or someone for them to look up to. [Wiley Day] is my contribution. And through that, we’re having about 20 guarantee students help out throughout the day,” said Twitchell.

CatieByrne_WileyDay_Jessica Twitchell_1

Jessica Twitchell

Ultimately, the goal of Wiley Day, Twitchell said, was about showing Wiley Elementary students that they could aspire to go to college, and become acclimated with the atmosphere and traditions of UNCG’s campus.

“So, throughout the day, yes they’re touring our campus, but they’re also participating in some good traditions that our campus has – so, they’ll be painting the Rawk, they’ll be leaving an apple at Minerva, they’ll be in our auditorium, they’ll be in our classrooms, they’ll be playing in Foust Park, they’ll be going to our baseball game, eating at Yum Yum’s — but I mean, yes, academics is important, but there is so much more to our campus than just sitting in a classroom learning, and [we’re] getting to the fun and exciting part now. And saying: ‘Okay this is what I do here as a student, I go to class just like you, as a student, I, am learning about this and this and someday, I want to be a teacher or be a rock star or whatever it is, I think that will make the difference. It’s not about walking into a new place, it’s about seeing and meeting students who have made an impact here, and this university, making an impact on them,” said Twitchell.

Dubbed “Wiley Day,” on Saturday, April 23, the approximately 20 first-to-fifth grade students from Wiley Elementary School’s after-school program, African American Male Initiative, came to visit UNCG. Wiley Day Coordinator and UNCG senior, Jessica Twitchell, spoke to The Carolinian prior to the event, to preview as well as give insights into the inspiration and coordination of Wiley Day. 

“My major goal for this project,” Twitchell said, “Is to get kids excited about learning, to get kids excited about doing something that they don’t necessarily think is for them. So, introducing this new idea of ‘what you can accomplish, what can you as a student’ — you’re in elementary school you’re in middle school, you’re in highschool, where can you end up? So this is a place, this is a reality.”

Twitchell began her involvement with Wiley Day, she said, as a project, when the UNCG Guarantee Scholarship coordinator approached her.

“The coordinator over at [UNCG] Guarantee [scholarship program], and she said, ‘hey, I’ve been working with Rashard, who is at Wiley Elementary School, and is over at the African American Male Initiative, and this is an initiative that they wanted to happen, for quite a while, and it hasn’t been gotten to,’ and so I was kind of like, put as the person to make this day possible,” said Twitchell.

Wiley’s African American Male Initiative after school program, Twitchell explained, is comprised of 30 first-to-fifth grade Wiley Elementary School students, and focuses on creating a positive influence on the Wiley community.

Of her involvement coordinating Wiley Day, Twitchell said that AAMI founder, Rashard Jones, “Is so excited, he is excited about what we’re going to be doing, and, with the relationships that we have the potential to be formed.”

Twitchell emphasized that UNCG’s Guarantee Scholarship, a scholarship which offers low-income students the opportunity to attend college, was an essential inspiration for creating the event.

“Through programs such as Guarantee, [it’s about] showing kids that, it’s okay that no one in your family has gone to college or ever been there before, but you can do it. And then, on the community itself, [it’s about] instilling those values of getting an education, doing something bigger, just, pushing yourself to do something more than what is restricting you, that this is a possibility for you,” said Twitchell.

As a UNCG Guarantee Scholarship recipient, Twitchell explained that her participation with Wiley Day, was motivated by her personal experiences getting into college.

“And so, one of the requirements [of UNCG Guarantee Scholarship] that we have, especially for seniors, is to give back to Wiley Elementary, because of a partnership that was formed a couple years ago. And so, the senior class of guarantees, totally 15 of us, are giving back to Wiley. Hopefully, the juniors and sophomores who are helping out with the day, they’ll be able to, when they’re seniors or even before then, make those connections, visit the kids and become mentors or someone for them to look up to. [Wiley Day] is my contribution. And through that, we’re having about 20 guarantee students help out throughout the day,” said Twitchell.

Ultimately, the goal of Wiley Day, Twitchell said, was about showing Wiley Elementary students that they could aspire to go to college, and become acclimated with the atmosphere and traditions of UNCG’s campus.

“So, throughout the day, yes they’re touring our campus, but they’re also participating in some good traditions that our campus has – so, they’ll be painting the Rawk, they’ll be leaving an apple at Minerva, they’ll be in our auditorium, they’ll be in our classrooms, they’ll be playing in Foust Park, they’ll be going to our baseball game, eating at Yum Yum’s — but I mean, yes, academics is important, but there is so much more to our campus than just sitting in a classroom learning, and [we’re] getting to the fun and exciting part now. And saying: ‘Okay this is what I do here as a student, I go to class just like you, as a student, I, am learning about this and this and someday, I want to be a teacher or be a rock star or whatever it is, I think that will make the difference. It’s not about walking into a new place, it’s about seeing and meeting students who have made an impact here, and this university, making an impact on them,” said Twitchell.



Categories: Features, Human Interest, Uncategorized

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