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2009.04.09 > For Immediate Release
contact: Sarah Casey - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: sk.casey@yahoo.com

Middle Schoolers to Visit UNO for Head Start on College Preparation

Omaha - Students who begin preparing for college in middle school have a greater chance of success in higher education, according to the ACT Policy Report. Nebraska middle schoolers are no exception.

As part of a local public relations campaign to promote early college planning, 25 Marrs Junior Academy of Finance students will visit the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) campus Thursday, April 16, in partnership with Student Enrollment Services.

“Everything you do in high school counts when it's time to apply for college. We look at all your grades, school and community involvement starting your freshman year. This means that in order to make sure you do everything right from day one, you need to plan in middle school for your future in high school and then college,” said Lina Traslavina, UNO community outreach coordinator. “Good grades don't just happen; you need to be prepared to get them.”

The campus visit begins at 9 a.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Jenkins Room, where students will be greeted with a brief introduction and welcome to the UNO campus. During this time, students will receive campus visit packets. The students will then take a tour of campus, including a stop at Maverick Village. Marrs students will also take part in an interactive session with a panel of UNO students.

The campus visit includes a stop at the "Be a Team Player: Become an M.V. (Most Valuable) Donor" organ donor awareness event on the plaza, featuring a live remote by 94. 1 radio and lunch in the student center food court. The visit will conclude at 1 p.m.

The students' visit to UNO is part of the Very Important Path (VIP) Your Backstage Pass to College, which kicked off April 2 at Marrs Magnet Financial Fair.

The campaign, created by five students from Maverick Solutions, the student public relations firm, aims to inform middle school students about the importance of early college planning and financial literacy. Seniors Sarah Casey, Jennifer Estep, Mikaela Knipe, Aimee Labenz and Kristen Martin planned and implemented the campaign as part of an advanced practicum to localize a public information campaign launched by the Consumer Banking Association and its Hit the Books Running initiative. In addition to its participation in the financial fair and campus visit, the team created a resource guide for parents of middle school students.

"We hope this campaign will be part of an on-going partnership with UNO and other local middle schools because our students' research showed the importance of developing strategies that better prepare students and their parents for the academic and financial challenges they will face in planning for college," said Karen Weber, PRSSA and Maverick Solutions faculty adviser.

The UNO School of Communication and its Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter sponsor the campaign.

For more information about the VIP campaign or the campus visit, contact Mikaela Knipe at (402) 669-2949 or mikaela.knipe@gmail.com.

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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