UVic Torch -- Autumn 2007
Autumn 2007,
Volume 28, Number 2

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California dreaming: Students in Education alumna Kristin Litster’s class in East Palo Alto are encouraged to embrace the possibilities of higher education.


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ISN’T THE FIRST PLACE YOU MIGHT LOOK for fans of the University of Victoria but you would be hard-pressed to find a more enthusiastic bunch of Vikes than Kristin Litster’s Grade 3 class at East Palo Alto Charter School.

After receiving a box full of UVic memorabilia courtesy of the Education Alumni Chapter of the UVic Alumni Association, Litster, BEd ’04, has been handing out the UVic-crested pens, water bottles, magnets, notebooks, posters—even copies of this magazine—to her students. It’s in support of the school’s “college for certain” approach that gets kids thinking about university, right from kindergarten.

Each class adopts the alma mater of its teacher and when Litster brought the UVic box to class “it was hilarious,” she says. “They were so excited. It was like Christmas morning.”

The school is in the inner-city neighbourhood in which the 1995 motion picture Dangerous Minds was set. Across the community, only 35 per cent of students graduate from high school on time.

Education Alumni Chapter organizer Wendy Gedney, BEd ’83, says the whole experience has been pretty heartwarming. “We’ve been a chapter for five years and this has been our biggest project in that it’s touched so many children.”

“The best part,” says Litster, “was when one of my little girls came up to me after school and informed me she’d made her college choice and she’s officially going to go to UVic, live in the Emily Carr dorm, and study in the SUB.”

California dreaming: Students in Education alumna Kristin Litster’s class in East Palo Alto are encouraged to embrace the possibilities of higher education.

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