Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
Daniels Elementary Academy students are learning about the importance of higher education thanks to a college and career center.
About 550 elementary students in Grand Prairie are learning about college from an early age.
The pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade students at Daniels Elementary Academy have their very own college and career center.
Gene Morrow said he wanted to do something different when he took over as principal this year. He created a college and career center for his students who are as young as 4 years old.
"I don't think it's ever too young," he said. "For me growing up as a kid, I never remember having the conversation of college with my mom."
Morrow said center is also meant to be a resource center for parents.
"They walk the kids in here a lot of mornings," he said. "They can step in here, they can get information about college, they can get information about student loans, all that information."
Fifth-grader Jacqueline Arzola said she already knows that the University of Texas is her top choice.
"I want to learn to be like a doctor, so I've been looking doctor up and I've been reading about doctors," she said.
Abdallah Barnett, also a fifth-grader, said he decided n the first grade that he wants to head back to the West Coast.
"I used to live in California, so my dad wanted me to know how everything looks so I could make my final decision, and I chose Stanford," he said.
Lakendra Beatey, who has been teaching at Daniels Elementary for eight years, said the new facility drastically changed the atmosphere.
"I just saw the excitement on the kids' faces, and they're actually talking, telling you, 'Oh, wow. Here is something for college.' 'Oh, I didn't know this!'" she said.
Beatey said she hoped the center would continue to motivate students to study hard and reach for their dreams.