Phoenix teacher encourages her students to attend college by stoking their fires for ASU
Arizona State University should consider installing a recruiting office in Shannon Perna’s sixth-grade classroom.
The Paradise Valley Unified School District teacher doesn’t spend much on marketing or advertising, isn’t on a university salary and doesn’t hand out prospectus or materials after each meeting. She is, however, highly effective in preparing her Palomino Intermediate students to become Sun Devils, 35 of them at a time.
Perna’s classroom is a virtual shrine to the maroon and gold, filled with ASU memorabilia — from pom-poms and foam fingers to a stuffed version of Sparky — and trophies of her years spent at the university.
And on the first day of class, the 2008 ASU graduate makes all of her students learn the ASU fight song, going so far as to insert the lyrics into their daily binder. Every day before they’re dismissed from class, Perna’s students sing the fight song at the top of their lungs.
On Fridays, they all get to wear ASU T-shirts, and so does Perna. But hers isn’t a standard ASU T-shirt with a logo. Hers reads: “Life is too short: Don’t spend it being a Wildcats fan.”
“Am I brainwashing my students?” Perna pondered the question for a moment, then smiled. “Yes, I guess you could say I am.”
In reality, it’s more about changing the students’ perspectives. Perna isn’t just a proud alumna supporting her alma mater; she’s trying to instill in her class — all Title ITitle I provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. students — a goal of attending college.
“The whole idea is to promote college whenever you can. If they can’t attend a major university, maybe they’ll think about going to a community college or a trade school. I want them to have a goal and shoot high,” Perna said. “Making a connection with ASU makes it a not-so-distant idea for them. It becomes tangible when you can take them to a game, visit the campus and show them college is in their future.”