Students at William McKinley Elementary School enjoyed fun and games during the annual Rivalry Day event on Thursday, November 19. Many children dressed in UCLA or USC t-shirts or red or blue colors to represent their chosen team for McKinley Elementary Rivalry Day.
Kids ran relay races with UCLA and USC footballs and got to meet visiting USC mascots Tommy Trojan and his horse, Traveler. Rivalry Day is put on every year by the McKinley PTA, whose volunteers also handed out stickers representing the two universities.
“All of this is part of McKinley’s College Month, which is celebrated every November with events and a field trip,” explained McKinley Principal Liz Costella. “At the beginning of November, there is ‘College Day,’ in which the kids wear t-shirts from any college of their choice and make pennants at recess.”
“The PTA takes pictures of the children, turns them into posters which say, ‘We’re going to college! Where will YOU go?’ and hang the posters in the hallways at McKinley.”
“At the end of the month, the fifth graders go on a field trip to UCLA, where they tour the campus and see what a wonderful university they have in their own backyard,” Costella added. “McKinley students also learn to save for college, by donating to the McKinley Alumni scholarship fund all month.”
“In the spring, McKinley gives at least one sizeable scholarship to a Burroughs senior who attended McKinley and who is continuing to college. After they’re chosen, the recipients come back to McKinley for an assembly where they give inspiring speeches and answer questions from the students.”
Former McKinley PTA President and current membership chair, Jenny Harris, also co-chaired Rivalry Day and College Month activities.
“Children who start believing that college is an attainable goal when they are in elementary school are more likely to see it as a reality for their futures,” said Harris. “Some kids love academics. Some kids love sports. We want kids to get excited about college, no matter what their interests are.”
“When it comes time to decide whether to go to college or not, we hope that our McKinley kids, who have been thinking about college since kindergarten, will be excited and prepared to go,” she added.
Harris and Costella expressed gratitude towards Hector Aguilar, who portrays Tommy Trojan, and “interacted wonderfully with the students.” They also expressed thanks to Burbank resident Joanne Asman. Asman, whose grand-daughter attends McKinley, owns Traveler and she and her team transported the horse to the school for the event.