Rio Alumni Storm the Schools

Mattie Lanham Class of 2017

Rio Alumna Mattie Lanham (center on the monkey bars) and her third grade class at Meigs Intermediate School show off their Rio Pride on the playground.

The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are taking the initiative to educate young students in Southeast Ohio about college readiness. Because of programs such as College Credit Plus, which provides eligible high school students the chance to enroll in college courses, the faculty, staff and administration at Rio believe it is never too early to begin preparing students for higher education. Director of Alumni Relations Delyssa Edwards said she feels it is important for Rio to provide this information to the youth of the community.

“Higher education is an important topic, and it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. Choosing college can be a tough decision, and waiting until the last minute to start looking into different schools and programs will make it even harder. College readiness and being prepared from an earlier age can help the students and their families find the college that is the right fit for them,” Edwards said. “Rio is such a staple for the community and we want to set a positive example of higher education for children in the area. We’re a very community-minded institution and want to help the children in our community succeed in their futures. From my own experience, I know college readiness helped me look through different schools and programs close to home, and I found the quiet, small town atmosphere I was looking for in Rio. Being prepared really made that decision easier for me.”

Mattie Lanham, a 2017 graduate from Rio’s Bunce School of Education, is a third grade teacher for Meigs Intermediate School. She said encourages her students to think about what they want to be in the future and plans numerous class activities to teach them the importance of working hard to accomplish their goals.

“I believe education might be the most important thing my students will ever own. They are constantly challenging each other to reading wars and math fact trivia. They love talking about their futures, and I love to listen to them,” Lanham said. “My students can tell anyone how proud I am to be a Rio graduate, and that I’m always telling them that it’s never too early to think about what they want to do when they grow up. Higher education is a frequent topic in my third graders conversations. Education is something that can never be taken from you, and I remind them of that daily.”

As one effort to continue promoting college readiness, Edwards has challenged the alumni from the Bunce School of Education to be leaders in the conversation with the Storm the School Initiative. The initiative encourages alumni to take photos of themselves sharing their own Rio Pride with their classes, and set an example as successful college graduates for the students. Edwards said the initiative will also be a race between participating alumni to see who can gain the most “likes” on Facebook.

“I wanted to give our alumni an opportunity to show off their Rio Pride and encourage their students to start thinking about college. Plus, a little competition makes the initiative even more fun for both the teachers and students,” Edwards said. “Teachers are major role models in children’s lives. When they get excited about college and their alma maters in the classroom, they are starting the conversation about the possibility of higher education for their students.”

For more information about college readiness or the Storm the School Initiative, contact Delyssa Edwards at (740) 245-7431 or

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