ELKHART — Baugo school district leaders, staff, students and community members are dedicating the new kindergarten wing at Jimtown Elementary School with a long-range vision, naming the facility Hope Hall.  

The dedication, a partnership between Teachers Credit Union and Baugo Community Schools, helps strengthen the Baugo Promise program, designed to prepare every Jimtown student for college and careers, officials said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday with about a dozen kindergartners cutting a paper chain link to celebrate the occasion.

Superintendent Byron Sanders said the hall was the brainchild of former superintendent Jim DuBois, who he said spoke for many years about the vision of hope for children and the belief “that if you give children hope especially in their future that great things happen.”

“There was a belief that if we establish that hope early and establish a college-going vision for (our students) lives, that it’ll increase the likelihood that they go onto school, so this Baugo Promise and vision of hope stems from all that,” Sanders said.

TCU is contributing $75,000 toward college savings accounts for Baugo students and establishing a CollegeChoce 529 Direct Savings Plan for all new kindergartners.

“Not only can our students have opportunities for our district to contribute money to that account, but they also have their parents to contribute to that 529 account as well,” Sanders said.

Because of the district’s partnerships with Ivy Tech and dual credit experiences, Sanders said, “we know students can earn dual credit while they’re in school.”

The equivalent of a full year of tuition or credit with additional savings through the 529 program, he said the district believes students can finish a degree at Ivy Tech for an additional year if everyone does their part for the 529 experience.

“Our hope is that every child in our district would have an opportunity for college education following this motto,” he said.

TCU representative Randy Lemert offered a similar sentiment.

“We want to partner with Baugo schools to give kids hope for a future for college and the earlier kids start with the idea of going to college and people give them hope to do that, whatever dollar amount they start with, statistics show they are more likely to go to college if we start that thought early,” he said.

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