Student ambassadors lead through ACES hallways

Glowing with pride and eager to show off their school, University Avenue ACES Elementary School student ambassadors lead visitors on a tour of the building.

 Dressed in their student ambassador lab coats fourth-graders Adriana Goepfert, Carson Pender and Emma Larson pause in a classroom mid-tour to respond to questions posed by a visitor to University Avenue ACES Elementary School.Photo by Sue Austreng

Dressed in their student ambassador lab coats fourth-graders Adriana Goepfert, Carson Pender and Emma Larson pause in a classroom mid-tour to respond to questions posed by a visitor to University Avenue ACES Elementary School.Photo by Sue Austreng

Dressed in white lab coats, ambassadors lead the way from the front office to the science lab, the computer room and the media center, describing class work and highlighting special tools and equipment used at the specialty ACES (aerospace, children’s engineering and science) school.

The school’s K-5 classrooms and its gymnasium and cafeteria are also part of the tour and every step of the way the student ambassadors’ pride is apparent, even while reading from a script.

“This school is just the greatest. I’ve been here for four years, and there’s still so much to learn, so much to try, so much to do. I love it,” student ambassador Adriana Goepfert said, speaking off-script, her enthusiasm unbridled.

Michelle Zimmerman, University Avenue ACES curriculum integrator, said Goepfert’s glee is not uncommon.

“This is brand new, but the kids really like it and it’s authentic because it’s really what they think about the school,” Zimmerman said.

The student ambassador tour script was written as a group effort by Zimmerman and the ambassadors and includes interesting information about the school, its magnet program and its community events.

The ACES group of 11 student ambassadors – all fourth- and fifth-grade students at the school – were chosen from a group of dozens of student applicants, Zimmerman said.

Telling a visitor that University Avenue ACES Elementary School students eagerly explore lessons about aerospace, student ambassador Adriana Goepfert gestures toward a mural in the school’s foyer.Photo by Sue Austreng

Telling a visitor that University Avenue ACES Elementary School students eagerly explore lessons about aerospace, student ambassador Adriana Goepfert gestures toward a mural in the school’s foyer.Photo by Sue Austreng

To apply, students had to submit an essay describing why they should be chosen to represent the school as an ambassador. A teacher recommendation and parent permission was also required.

Student ambassadors’ key personality traits include ease in public speaking and articulation, good in-class behavior and a proven history of showing respect and practicing responsibility.

“These kids love the school, they love how cool it is, so they make great ambassadors,” Zimmerman said.

After reviewing the script and practicing on their own for a couple of weeks, the student ambassadors gave their first tours to staff members and to a Junior Achievement group visiting the school late last month.

Now, they are ready to lead prospective students’ families and other visitors through the hallways of their school.

“We are excited to have the student ambassador program in place at University Avenue,” Zimmerman said. “By having these ambassadors lead the tours of our school, visitors are able to see University Avenue through the eyes of the students. It’s an exciting program and the student ambassadors are proud of their role in representing our school to visitors.”

Students attending University Avenue ACES receive curriculum approved by the Anoka-Hennepin School District, but also have a focus on aerospace and engineering.

Planning and implementation of programs at the school is accomplished with partnerships with the Anoka County Airport, Jackson Middle School Observatory, NASA, the Space Foundation and the Civil Air Patrol.

Students learn about aerospace and engineering in and outside of school and Principal Dr. Anissa Cravens said field trips are “designed to be hands-on learning experiences that increase background knowledge and enrich the learning happening at school.”

Those interested in touring University Avenue ACES Elementary School, should contact Zimmerman by calling 763-506-4544 or by emailing MichelleB.Zimmerman@anoka.k12.mn.us.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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