Creekside Elementary Students Explore PCC Campus

PCC's John Carrere speaking with students participating in the Bulldog Explorers program.

WINTERVILLE—Students from Winterville’s Creekside Elementary School spent the better part of Thursday morning on the Pitt Community College campus, engaging with college personnel and participating in hands-on activities to learn about higher education and career opportunities.

The visit came as part of a new “Bulldog Explorers” initiative made possible through a collaboration between PCC, the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, and Pitt County Schools (PCS). The hope is that giving children a chance to interact in a higher education environment will fuel their interest in attending college and inspire them to believe they can achieve great things.

John Carrere, PCC Director of Recruitment & First-Year Experience, helped organize Thursday’s visit and said he enjoyed partnering with PCS and the chamber on an educational project that showed children learning can be fun and everyone can pursue higher education.

“Pitt Community College shares a strong bond with Pitt County Schools and our Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, so the opportunity to collaborate on an event to give elementary school-aged students a chance to learn about our campus was exciting,” Carrere said. “It ended up being a wonderful experience for everyone involved.”

Approximately 50 students, ranging from third-graders to fifth-graders, participated in “Bulldog Explorers” this week. Their visit began with a welcome from President Lawrence Rouse and an introduction to Pitt’s bulldog mascot, Bruiser.

“It was inspiring to see the excitement on their faces in being on a college campus for the first time, to meet our president, Dr. Lawrence Rouse, and to give ‘Bruiser the Bulldog’ a hug,” Carrere said. “They came away with autographs, their own PCC ID cards, and the memories of being a ‘college student’ at PCC for the day.”

Carrere said “Bulldog Explorers” featured stops at a variety of academic programs. “Students conducted experiments with our Biotechnology program, learned about hydraulics and automated processes with Industrial Systems, discovered how young people learn in our new, cutting-edge Education and Child Development pre-school training lab, and flew professional-grade drones,” he said.

Kimber Stone, Director of Development & Member Engagement at the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, says “Bulldog Explorers” is part of the organization’s commitment to supporting educational initiatives that empower local students and promote community growth.

“This pilot program stems off our program of work that aims to grow and develop talent in our community. Post K-12 career paths and education look different for every student,” Stone said. “We are excited to partner with Pitt Community College in such a creative and impactful way that we hope will inspire these students and show them early-on that there is a future for everyone to work towards, and they can do so right here in Pitt County.”