OXFORD - Some Newton County fifth-graders got a seven-year head start on some of their peers this week.
About 100 fifth-grade students from Palmer Stone Elementary School walked over to neighboring Oxford College on Tuesday morning to participate in the young students' annual College Day.
"It's a tradition as fifth-graders" at Palmer Stone, said Amie Cumming, a fifth-grade teacher at Palmer Stone Elementary. "They love this, and always look forward to this."
She said it serves as a double celebration - it usually falls the week after the students take the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, which fifth-grade students have to pass to attend the sixth grade.
"This is their big treat," Cumming said.
During the event, students spend the day at the college touring the campus, playing tennis, eating in the dining hall and also taking a few "classes," including a music lesson, a diversity workshop and a science lab during which they made a Silly Putty-like material.
"A lot of them live in this community and have never come to the college before," Cumming said. "Sometimes just to see inside of a dorm or to take a PE class, it's a neat thing."
She said it opens their eyes more to what the college experience is like, as they may have no idea before they visit the campus.
"They can see that college is more than sitting in a classroom and going to class from 8 to 3 every day like they do now," Cumming said.
At least one student is more excited about starting college now.
"It's fun," said Markice Harris, who wants to be a fireman when he grows up. "You can learn a lot of stuff."
Michelle Floyd can be reached at email@example.com.