Teachers at Aikin Elementary hope to collect a college t-shirt for each student who'd like one.

Teachers at Aikin Elementary hope to collect a college t-shirt for each student who’d like one.

Alison Manthey Acuy believes it’s never too early to think about college. The 2008 Lake Highlands High grad and fourth grade teacher at Aikin Elementary is one of several teachers there encouraging students to wear college t-shirts on “Think College Thursdays.” They want children to envision a bright future which includes higher education. Many of her students, she says, will be the first in their family to attend university.

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“My whole life growing up, I knew I was going to college,” says Alison. “The only question was which one. I went to different sporting events and wore college t-shirts, then started really researching colleges in high school.”

Alison first chose Oklahoma University because of their sports teams, she says, then switched to the University of North Texas for their nationally-ranked education program.

“Since I work at a Title I school, not many of our kids come from a home that has regular conversations about their future and colleges. We want to be the ones that start that conversation with them. Although, yes, elementary school is a long way from college, we want our kids to have a goal to work towards.”

“Most of the time, it has just been teachers wearing college t-shirts,” explains Alison, with students donning their school uniform. “Lots of our kids can’t afford to purchase a college t-shirt, so this is where our teachers took to social media to spread the word and ask for donations. We want our kids wearing college t-shirts to begin picturing themselves in college.”

If you’d like to help, you may drop off or mail your new or (gently) used tees, child or adult size for pre-school through 6th grade students, to Aikin Elementary, 12300 Pleasant Valley Drive, 75243.