Eighth grade students from St. Matthew the Evangelist School sit in on a lab demonstration Oct. 23 at Bellevue University’s R. Joe Dennis Learning Center during a campus visit. Through a grant provided by the EducationQuest Foundation, eighth grade students were able to tour local universities and discover the programs offered on campus.

Eighth graders in Bellevue had a chance to experience college life through an EducationQuest Foundation Grant.

St. Matthew the Evangelist, Mission and Logan Fontenelle middle schools all received grants to visit a school of their choice.

With the grant, eighth-graders receive transportation to and from the university, funds for a substitute teacher for the day and also meals at the university.

According to a news release, the yearly eighth-grade campus visit grant is “one of several programs EducationQuest provides to fulfill its mission of improving access to higher education in Nebraska.”

EducationQuest provides up to $500 to each school selected, though schools can receive additional funds if requested.

Ashley Wynne, St. Matthew’s school counselor, said the group was excited to participate in their tour at Bellevue University.

BU was chosen not only because its proximity, but also because Wynne had heard “great things” about the school.

“I called to ask about a tour and they were very excited,” she said. “They’re used to working with schools in the area, and they seemed easy to work with.”

Besides a tour of campus, Wynne said St. Matthew students learned about BU’s cybersecurity program, the earth science labs, E-sports and even had a break in the student center.

Wynne said she and the students learned a lot from their time at BU.

“It was a really great tour,” she said. “BU has really nice facilities and the students didn’t realize how big the campus was.”

Wynne said it was important to let the eighth graders know their options after high school.

“Talking about it helps the students envision themselves being there,” she said. “It was a positive experience and it was great to see students picture themselves in college.”

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