ANGOLA — Elementary students from Steuben and LaGrange counties got to spend some time Thursday at Trine University for Walk into my Future.

The annual event is held to give elementary-age students the chance to experience a taste of campus life while also working to encourage their families to start a College Choice 529 Direct Savings Plan.

The event is a part of the Promise Indiana initiative launched by the state in 2013 that was created to start the conversation about post-secondary education as early as kindergarten so young students begin dreaming about their futures.

“Children see this and think ‘what does my future hold,’” said Krista Miller, director of the YMCA of Steuben County. “They think, ‘I can dream big.’”

Miller said it’s important to get children connected early to help prepare them for the future so they can get excited about jobs, two or four year colleges, trade school and the like.

“This helps them connect the saving money piece, shows them a bit of saving for their education,” she said. “It helps them understand being responsible for themselves.”

Trine University Director of Admissions Heather Kim said, for the university, it’s a lot of community outreach doing this event.

The planning and logistics work begins in February, with someone from almost every campus department having input.

“We have 100-plus faculty, staff and student volunteers helping,” she said. “People look forward to this event every year.”

The campus community, said Kim, loves having the little ones on campus and getting to introduce them to a little bit of what college can be like.

“It’s an exciting time to be at Trine,” she said.

Students from LaGrange County spent the morning doing activities on campus while Steuben County students enjoyed the afternoon.

The two groups, made up of students from Fremont, Hamilton, Meadowview, Shipshe/Scott, Topeka, Ryan Park, Hendry Park, Carlin Park, Lakeland, Pleasant Lake and Prairie Heights Elementary Schools met during lunch at the MTI Center for a little friendly competition between school teachers and administrators.

Shortly after getting students seated and sack lunches out, administrators and a few teachers, totaling 12 in all, took to the floor to play a friendly game of musical chairs.

Students hooted and hollered, cheering on their school’s representative to win.

But it was Eric Bryan, principal at Fremont Elementary School, who came out victorious in a close final round, narrowly sitting down before Rosie Brandt, principal at Pleasant Lake Elementary School.

Following the game, Trine University staff played a number of popular songs while the students showed their dance moves in the stands before moving to the Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Inc. Athletic and Recreation Center for the rest of the planned activities.

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