College Tee Project

Create a college-going culture though a tangible connection- a college tee shirt and personal note.

Photo of Ashley Haskins
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The College Tee Project creates a college-going culture for students, with

particular attention to first generation and low-income kids, by giving them and their families a

tangible connection to college – a college tee shirt and note from a college grad, along a Pathway to College poster, with helpful information about college preparedness. We also do this at inspiring, memorable and informative school assemblies for them and their parents.

The College Tee Project aims to be the spark that raises parental expectations and inspires

students. The tee shirts will serve as reminders – every time kids put them on or their parents run

them through the wash – of the inspiration they received at their assemblies through the speeches

and notes, and the education they received through the post-assembly reflection exercises and

Pathway to College posters.

An important part of the program is writing notes to the students. The students love them!

Nothing fancy is necessary. These notes can be entered on a website through individual

donations, but for a participating organization, a Google Doc spreadsheet can be entered. A few sample notes would be provided on the spreadsheet that can be used either  as examples or as templates.

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Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Ashley, this is great!  I loved where you wrote about how the T-shirt could serve as a tangible/visible reminder, each time it goes through the wash. When I visited the Pulitzer gallery in D.C., there was a quote from a photographer about why photographs can be so much more powerful than videos – and it was for this reason exactly. It's easy to "stumble upon" a physical image, giving you a random reminder. I like how your idea uses this as a way to "nudge" people to remember their commitments. 

Wasn't sure from the description, do you already do this at your school? 

Also, for what it's worth the College Signing Day Kit used by Reach Higher also uses T-shirts as a cultural symbol. I love how this could integrate into the idea! 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/college_signing_day_kit_0.pdf


I know some people will question the cost of providing a T-shirt.  I wonder if there are other tangible symbols we could provide at a lower cost. 

Photo of Ashley Haskins
Team

Charles,
Yes, this idea is already in small action in Sonoma County and there is a fundraising aspect to the project.  This is where community partners come in. 

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Do you mean people donate the shirts? 

Photo of Ashley Haskins
Team

Yes. Individuals can donate shirts and personal notes  Also, nonprofit groups or businesses participate. There is a template for the personal letter. Www.collegeteeproject.org

Photo of Ashley Haskins
Team

Charles thank you for the link to college signing day. This is outstanding. I'm thinking of ways to connect the two.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Awesome!! Penny for your thoughts?

Photo of Ashley Haskins
Team

What if we connected the college tee project with signing day? In the morning a rally or celebration recognizing  seniors that have signed. Then, those same seniors visit as a group to a target elementary school.  They  show off their decision to attend college by wearing tee shirts representing their future college choice.  The seniors then connect with 4th graders receiving sponsored Tee-shirts that have been filled by the College Tee project sponsorship.

We could connect with counselors from high schools to design a  College Signing Day event style that would best fit for each high school.  The personal connection would be reinforced when the seniors visit the 4th graders later in the day that are being gifted a college tee-shirt. What a double personal connection!

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

I like the idea of linking the two projects, via something like a signing day for the younger students – they get to experience the fun, and see members of their own community moving on to university!  And even if it weren't every student, having that connection could be powerful, just as you describe. 

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Can you update your idea with the new thoughts you've had?