Schools prepare students for Ivy League

HARLINGEN — Sidni Wentz has enjoyed her various community service activities this year.

The Stuart Place Elementary fifth grader enjoyed the beach cleanup and Feast of Sharing, which is being logged into an electronic portfolio. The portfolio will include numerous other endeavors over the next few years and eventually be used to get into college.

“It’s called the Ivy League Project,” Principal William Snavely said. “We combine with Vela Middle, Cano Freshman Academy and Harlingen South.”

Snavely said the Ivy League Project began about three years ago when four students from Harlingen High School South were accepted into Ivy League schools. He and the principals at the three other schools decided then to prepare their students to be college and career ready.

“The children will be able to scan in all these community service hours that they’ve accrued from fourth grade all the way to 12th grade in the same charitable causes which help them become a little more competitive,” he said.

The Ivy League Project also includes speakers about once a month. Recent speakers have included the principals from Vela, Cano and Harlingen High School South.

“Last night they brought in students who had graduated from Harlingen CISD that are attending other colleges like Texas A&M and what they did to get accepted,” Snavely said. “We normally have one Ivy League alumnus that speaks to our students as to what the process was to getting into an Ivy League school.”

Sidni, 11, thought it was pretty cool.

“I think it’s nice we get to meet them and get to know more about what we’re going to do,” she said.

The kids also take two field trips each year, to UTRGV in Edinburg and UTRGV in Brownsville.

Snavely said keeping a record in their electronic portfolios gives students a competitive edge when they begin applying for college. The exposure to people and places gives them a broader view of the opportunities available to them.

“Last night our parents got to hear not only from the students but from the parents of students who got accepted into Texas A&M,” he said. “You have to be in the top 10 percent in your class to be accepted. The children were hearing about the leadership opportunities the students did in high school, what extracurricular activities they were involved in middle school and high school.”

The fifth graders appreciated the talks.

“It feels good because they’re exposing us to all these opportunities to get into a good college even an Ivy League,” said David Josiah Ramos, 10.

Participating schools

Stuart Place Elementary

Vela Middle School

Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy

Harlingen High School South