GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - They are too young to be in college. Yet on Friday, about 250 sixth graders from the Moss Point School District were roaming around a college campus and getting an introduction to some complicated courses.
"This is when they start to decide whether or not school is fun," said Moss Point Superintendent Kim Staley. "As you know, middle school is the age when children decide to drop out. So we're trying to target the sixth graders to make sure they understand the importance of making it through school."
To get the students energized about education, the superintendent organized a tour of the Jackson County campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The students learned about different careers and how college can help them reach their goals.
"I thought it would be a very great experience to learn and see how everything's going to be like when we get older and go to college," said sixth grader Shawneice White.
"I found out it's lots of fun and it still has lots of educational things," said sixth grader Kelsey Jiles.
And Ladalvin Garland said, "This is my first time coming to a college and I knew I was going to learn exciting stuff."
The superintendent hopes students see for themselves that there's a lot to look forward to, if they stay in school.
"You know the streets these days offer shiny and glamorous things," said Staley. "If we don't as educators engage our children in an early enough age, and make them understand the importance of getting that education, then they'll be in the streets and we either pay now or pay later."
Next year, in addition to touring the junior college, Moss Point sixth graders will also get to visit a four-year university.