Future Falcons visit University of Montevallo

Welcome mats were out across the University of Montevallo campus recently for the final Montevallo Connection-sponsored Future Falcon Day events of the spring semester.

UM welcomed 110 fifth graders from Montevallo Elementary School April 15 for a sports extravaganza. Student-athletes, coaches and members of the athletic department staff volunteered their time to play basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis and volleyball with the students. UM hosted a pizza picnic for the young guests to cap off the day.

“It was a great opportunity for everyone to have a good time playing and working together,” said head volleyball coach Katie O’Brien. “Being able to go over correct techniques for our respective sports was great, and we hope that each student learned something new. I really enjoyed interacting with the young students.”

The Montevallo Connection was created in 2007 to re-energize and further strengthen the partnership between UM and Montevallo schools. The Future Falcon program is an outgrowth of a Montevallo Connection initiative that enables UM students, faculty and alumni to provide students in Montevallo Elementary, Middle and High Schools with university experiences that will inspire them to complete their high school education and pursue higher education.

“You could see the excitement on the students’ faces as they thought about what they might be able to do with their futures,” said assistant women’s soccer coach Stacey Balaam. “The day was a great opportunity for the children to get involved in some collegiate sports under the guidance of the coaching staff at the university. It was great to see their eyes light up as we gave them tours of our facilities.”

The Future Falcon Day agenda was quite different for a group of 17 Montevallo High School students who visited the campus April 30 as part of the Blueprints Mentoring Program, organized by UM business major, Jessica Parker of Sylacauga. Activities were designed to encourage the high schoolers to consider pursuing a college education.

They included resume building, interviewing skills and tours of the campus, Ebenezer Wetlands and the James Wylie Shepherd Observatory. At the end of the day, the number of students who said they had an interest in going to college had nearly doubled.

Cynthia Shackelford is the director of public relations at the University of Montevallo.