UNLV's Adopt-A-School program began in 2009 as an offshoot of UNLV’s homecoming festivities. In 2010, the program’s goals were revised to strengthen the link to education. Today, the program aims to:
- Reward academic achievement
- Expose children in at-risk schools to higher education and instill a desire to attend college
- Give students, faculty, alumni, donors, and friends an avenue to engage with the community
- Partner with UNLV's Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach to provide a seamless transition to middle schools where UNLV has college preparatory programs
History of the Program
In March 2009, a homecoming subcommittee was formed to provide UNLV students, faculty, and alumni a prominent and visible avenue for giving back to the community during homecoming week. This had been a goal of the homecoming committee since 2006. The Adopt-A-School program was selected with the belief that removing the mystery of higher education would lead to future college graduates.
The selection criteria used to pick the partner school was:
- At-risk status
- High free and reduced lunch rate
The Pilot Program
In May 2009, Cunningham Elementary was chosen for the pilot program. Cunningham was a year-round school with 800 students. It had a large homeless student population and 69 percent of students were on free and reduced lunch (30 percent was average for Clark County School District schools).
The UNLV Alumni Association spearheaded the pilot program with the purchase of 100 Family Fun Packs (fun packs include four tickets, four hotdogs and four drinks). In total, 120 packs were given to the top students at the school and $5 from every pack sold was donated back to Cunningham Elementary.
Other components of the Adopt-A-School program included:
- A pep rally at the school during homecoming week.
- T-shirts: 250 UNLV SuperRebel T-shirts were distributed at the pep rally.
- A book drive for the school’s Accelerated Reader program. (UNLV faculty, staff, and students bought more than 60 books for the program.)
- Participation in the school’s:
- Pizza and Progress program
- Nevada Reading Week
- CRT pep rally and assembly
Continued Growth and Success
Based on the Adopt-A-School success, UNLV continues to expand the program and adopt additional schools; including:
- Ruth Fyfe Empowerment Elementary School (Adopted 2010)
- Oran K. Gragson Elementary School (Adopted 2010)
- Dean Petersen Professional Development School (Adopted 2010)
- Paradise Professional Development Elementary School (Adopted 2011)
Principals from the adopted schools select four special students to recognize each year during the UNLV Homecoming football game. Each student receives:
- Four tickets to the Homecoming football game
- An invitation to the Alumni Tailgate
- Recognition on the field during the half-time show
Members of the Adopt-a-School committee and UNLV representatives continue to lend support and encouragement to our adopted schools. Each year we lend support with spirit rallies prior to standardized (CRT) testing, book drives, and tickets to the homecoming football game and tailgate.
Every year we get lots of requests from classrooms around the country asking us to partner with them to share with them the importance of a college education.
While we would like to be able to adopt every classroom that requests our help as part of our program, we can’t. So instead, we’re asking you to adopt us! When you adopt UNLV, we send out a little piece of Rebel Spirit…in a box!