Dreaming Big

OCC's Meredith Cantor-Feller helps McKinley-Brighton student DerricKa Trotman apply two-sided tape inside her journal.
OCC’s Meredith Cantor-Feller and McKinley-Brighton student DerricKa Trotman work together to apply two-sided tape to DerricKa’s new journal.

The smiles on their faces spoke a thousand words. Third graders at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School were dreaming about the future and loving it. The journals they were creating were the first step on their journey toward making their dreams come true. On construction paper they used color pencils to draw pictures, write their names and what they’d like to be when they grow up. The construction paper was laminated, folded in half and a notebook was attached inside. MB-OCC Partner LogoStudents smiled with pride as they held up their brand new journals.

The effort was led by Meredith Cantor-Feller, OCC’s Interim Dean of Visual, Performing & Applied Arts. Throughout the process she kept telling students (and they kept repeating to her), “If you write it down you’re one step closer to getting it done.” Every student in the room had a dream. The journal making was the first step in turning the dream into reality. “I want these students to start thinking big early on. That’s why I kept saying to them, ‘If you write it down you’re one step closer to getting it done.’ I want them to know you don’t wait until you’re 20 to start your idea of what you want to be, you start early.”

Cantor-Feller’s presence at McKinley-Brighton is the product of a new partnership between the school and College aimed at helping students. The pilot program was kicked off during a celebration at McKinley-Brighton in September. More than 200 students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades attended the event.

Throughout the academic year, College representatives like Cantor-Feller will visit the school and help students in a variety of ways by working on arts and creative activities, conducting STEM demonstrations and engaging students in leadership activities. There will also be field trips to the OCC campus for students to enjoy and learn from.

McKinley-Brighton Elementary is in the Syracuse City School District. It is located on West Newell Street just three miles from campus.

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