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ASU alumni inspire Phoenix area youth at career event

'Above and Beyond' sparks career interests, academic awareness

Above and Beyond youth career event

Students try to outbid each other for characteristics they believe best define them during Tuesday’s Above and Beyond event at Laveen Elementary.

May 10, 2017

More than 200 third, fourth and fifth grade students participated in a career event at Laveen Elementary School called “Above and Beyond.” The goal of the event, hosted by Access ASU, was to get these students thinking about their career interests and spark academic awareness at an early age.

"We are going ‘Above and Beyond’ promoting college prep so these students can have the tools they need to succeed and thrive later in life,” said Tenecia Placide, Access ASU AmeriCorp Outreach Coordinator.

Arizona State University alumni volunteered to speak to groups of the elementary students about a time in their life when they had to find the strength to persevere.

“To have someone who went to college and found success come in, besides their teachers, and say, ‘This is where I was, this was my path, and now this is where I am’ is so important.” said Robert Caplinger, Laveen Elementary principal .

The alumni also engaged with students in a variety of hands-on activities demonstrated how they find success in each of their careers by following their dreams. They also worked with the students of Hawk Nation to understand how to face personal fears and to overcome challenges they may encounter.

“The students need to be able to look forward and learn from role models how they’ve been successful. Most of our students come from families who didn’t go to college, so there’s nobody at home telling them how they can make it to college,” Caplinger said.

kids sitting on lawn raising hands

A group of Laveen Elementary students volunteer to share a fear they had to overcome during Tuesday’s Above and Beyond event.

Nearly three-quarters of the Laveen Elementary student body is eligible for free or reduced lunch and more than half identify as Hispanic.

“It’s never too early to start talking to students about their future. Students asked great questions of our ASU alumni working in various fields including engineering, psychology and the law,” said Sylvia Symonds, vice president of educational outreach at ASU.

“Laveen Elementary is full of Future Sun Devils and we are proud to help students begin to explore college and career.”

Written by Will Argeros