Students sign pledge for college promises
Superior Middle School eighth graders were among the first to sign the Wisconsin Covenant today. Thirty eighth-grades students went to the University of Wisconsin-Superior to tour, hear speakers and sign their own covenants. Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawt...
Superior Middle School eighth graders were among the first to sign the Wisconsin Covenant today.
Thirty eighth-grades students went to the University of Wisconsin-Superior to tour, hear speakers and sign their own covenants.
Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton was on hand to witness Eric LaGesse sign his covenant.
"You are identified as Wisconsin Covenant Scholars; that's a distinction that shows you have commitment," Lawton said. "When you define yourself as a covenant scholar and sign it, your teachers are going to look at you differently."
Gov. Jim Doyle, his wife, Jessica, and Lawton are joining eighth grade students across the state in a two-day push for signing of the Wisconsin Covenant. Universities, colleges and technical schools throughout Wisconsin are inviting eighth graders to campus in celebration of Covenant Day.
The covenant provides every eighth grade student, who promises to graduate from a Wisconsin high school, maintain a B average, take classes to prepare for college and apply for financial aid in a timely manner, a place in a Wisconsin university, technical school or private college.
Students who fulfill their pledge will be named Wisconsin Covenant Scholars. Besides a place in a Wisconsin institute of higher learning, the students will receive a financial aid package based on their families' financial need.
Students will apply for the same financial aid available to all students. Students also receive support and information from the Wisconsin Covenant Community, which is made up of government and higher learning institutions.
Superior Middle School students were excited to be a part of the day's events and sign their own personal covenants.
"I think it's actually cool," said Joshua Johnson. "Being here and having fun and seeing what the campus looks like. The campus is awesome."
It's good for students to have something to sign that they can show their parents they are committed to a college education, Johnson said.
Johnson and classmate Griffin Strycharske don't have majors picked out just yet, but both plan to play sports.
Sara Miles likes the financial aid portion of the Covenant. Besides financial aid, Miles is planning to win scholarships to help pay for her education.
"I think it's a good idea. It will, like, give everyone an opportunity ... to go to college and be successful," Mills said.
The Wisconsin Covenant program is part of the governor's budget. The budget has passed the joint finance committee but has not yet been approved by the legislature.
Higher education is going to be important for these students. The world today's eighth graders are entering is very different than the one their parents entered, Lawton said.
The days when a person could get a good manufacturing or factory job with benefits after high school are gone; those jobs no longer exist for people without some higher education, she said.
Eighth graders who weren't present at the Covenant Day ceremony have until Sept. 14 to sign the pledge and return it by mail to: Office of the Wisconsin Covenant, P.O. Box 7869, Madison, WI 53707. More information about the pledge is available online at Wisconsincovenant.wi.gov.
"You guys are at the cutting edge of our history and the state's history," Lawton said to the eighth graders. "It's important for you to recognize your dreams, and if you're already thinking of yourself in a college classroom, it fuels bigger dreams."
Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail akurth@superiortelegram . com.