When Cara Cash enrolled at Vela Middle School, she never imagined that she would have the opportunity to be part of several extracurricular activities at a time. As an active eighth grade student, she is involved in orchestra, tennis, and cheerleading – to name a few.
At Vela, Cash was met with the support she needed to become the well-rounded student that universities desire.
“Whatever you want to do, Vela has it,” said Cash. “They’ll work with you so that you can be involved in multiple activities and get the full experience. I’m able to do four different things during the year and still be successful because of how great the school is at working with students.”
With the emphasis her school places on college, her attention has shifted toward the future. Cash recently visited the University of Texas at Brownsville along with her eighth grade class in order to get a sneak peek into what university life is like.
“We toured UTB not long ago, and we were able to feel the environment of a real university,” said Cash. “We got to see the classrooms and the study areas. I’m amazed that at the middle school level I’ve had such an opportunity.”
The middle school promotes a university atmosphere through “Vela University,” a campus-wide mindset that gets students thinking about and preparing for college.
With the college culture also comes the concentration on academics. In class, students are encouraged to research the material further and become independent learners.
“We have our teachers with us every day so we’re able to get a full understanding of the lesson, but we are also able to see what its like in college in that we have the opportunity to work independently as well,” said Cash.
Eighth grade student Anell McDaniel has started researching colleges in her Career Portals class and exploring the different careers that suit her interests.
In the class, students are able to find out information on the programs offered by various universities, college requirements, and costs. The aim of the course is for students to start getting an idea of what career they want to pursue so that, by the time they become juniors and seniors, they will be prepared and know what steps to take.
“I think that Vela does a good job in preparing me for college and beyond,” said McDaniel. “Our teachers help us make connections between our school work and the real world. They’re getting us ready for college and what we will see in the upcoming years our lives.”
In its second year, the Vela University program has proved to be of benefit for students. Teachers and staff hope that it will continue to provide students with the tools they need to prepare themselves for high school and beyond for years to come.
Pre-registration for Vela will begin in February. Students who pre-register will be entered into a drawing for a Cinemark gift card.
Pre-registration dates are as follows:
February 23 Stuart Place Elementary 8:30 A.M.
February 23 Jefferson Elementary 1:30 P.M.
February 24 Lamar Elementary 8:30 A.M.
February 26 Parent Orientation Night at Vela M.S. 5:30 P.M.