Let's Go to College Events Inspire Youth

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Let's Go to College Event Participants Image

TMCC President Dr. Hilgersom, Rotarians, TMCC staff and students, WCSD officials, EA staff and Partners in Education members visited with fifth graders on Nov. 3.

A group of fifth graders at Virginia Palmer Elementary School peered up at Truckee Meadows Community College President Karin Hilgersom, PhD and darted raised hands in response to her question about what career they’d like to pursue.

Responses included 'engineer', 'astronaut' and 'pilot'.

On this sunny afternoon of Nov. 3, she encouraged them, listing the many ways financial aid and scholarships will help students achieve their dreams.

If the sound level in the room was an indication of eagerness, the students’ enthusiasm rose as Dr. Hilgersom passed out the “Let’s Go to College” spiral notebooks, TMCC pens and three pencils to each one in the classroom. Additional TMCC staff members, students, Reno Sunrise Rotary representatives, Washoe County School District (WCSD) officials and representatives of the Education Alliance of Washoe County (EA) including Partners in Education also handed out supplies and visited with students during the Let’s Go to College events.

“I loved hearing what they want to be when they grow up—my favorites were teacher, cop, principal, chef, florist, soldier, rock star and teenager,” said Michelle Montoya, Tutoring and Learning Center Coordinator.

John Albrecht, J.D., TMCC General Counsel and Reno Sunrise Rotary member agreed.

“We hope that as the students see and use the college notebook and pencils over time, it will help the kids and their families remember it’s very possible to get to college and that there are many people ready to support their goals,” he said.

Volunteers also talked with the classes about career and technical education (CTE) and military service. TMCC students such as Alejandra Stewart and Quenton Riccomini shared some of the helpful services they’ve experienced so far during their educational journey.

The noise level swelled when TMCC’s mascot Wizard strode in with his huge tennis shoes. Students called out for Wizard to give them “high-fives”.

Partnership of Many Agencies

Reno Sunrise Rotary Club, Rotary District 5190 began the project last year by visiting Virginia Palmer Elementary, and this year expanded its reach to two additional schools, Alice Maxwell and Sun Valley Elementary Schools. Collaborating with Rotary in the three “Let’s Go to College” events include TMCC, WCSD, EA and their Partners in Education.

The Reno Sunrise Rotary and TMCC provided funds to pay for notebooks, pencils and pens given to each student in all three schools; a total of 1,820 students.

As the Virginia Palmer event was wrapping up, a few students rushed up to Kate Kirkpatrick, Director of Marketing and Communications at TMCC and presented her with thank you notes, freshly written in their notebooks. Drawings were complete with smiley faces, alphabet letters, hearts, animals and a diploma.

“Everyone at each school was so appreciative, and I want to thank everyone who participated—from the community partners, to TMCC’s facilities crew who delivered everything, to the Wizard performers, all the faculty and staff from across the College,” Kirkpatrick said. “It is awesome to have support from administration, academics and student services.”

Helen Scott, administrative assistant in New Student Services, agreed.

“It was super amazing to be part of such a wonderful project, and to see the excitement in the faces of the children makes the heart happy,” she said.

For more information about the “Let’s Go to College” events, please contact Kate Kirkpatrick in the Marketing and Communications Office at 775-673-7087.

Additional Volunteers at “Let’s Go to College”

Washoe County School District (WCSD):

  • Traci Davis, Superintendent of Schools
  • Angela Taylor, PhD, President, WCSD Board of Trustees
  • Ryan Gonda, J.D., WCSD Board of Trustees

Education Alliance of Washoe County (EA):

  • Kendall Inskip, Executive Director
  • Brittani Keefe, Collaborative Coordinator
  • Partners in Education Business Supporters


  • Brian DelIsle
  • Doug Hill
  • John Albrecht
  • John Hetz
  • Jon Greene
  • Mark Anderson
  • Martha Greene
  • Ron Rehn
  • Virginia Holloway

TMCC Students and Staff:

  • Alejandra Stewart
  • Antonio Gonzalez
  • Barbara Buchanan
  • Brandie Davis
  • Cindy Martin
  • David Misner
  • David Turner
  • Elena Bubnova
  • Erik Bravo
  • Haley Orthel-Clark
  • Helen Johnson Scott
  • Jill Atkinson
  • Jill Channing
  • John Albrecht
  • John Frederick
  • Josh Shinn
  • Karin Hilgersom
  • Kate Kirkpatrick
  • Linda McGillicuddy
  • Marcie Iannacchione
  • Michelle Montoya
  • Nancy Quintero
  • Nicole Shimabuku
  • Patricia Bouweraerts
  • Quenton Riccomini
  • Rebecca Thomas
  • Scott Weissman
  • Steve Aten
  • Sue Turbow
  • Tanja Hayes
  • Tanya Farnung-Morrison
  • Tim Ill
  • YeVonne Allen