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 Students, Parents, Staff from San Marcos, Chula Vista, San Diego Tour USD, See Toreros Final Home Hoop Victory

​More than 100 students, parents and school staff members from three local schools toured the University of San Diego campus and then watched the Torero’s men’s basketball team win their final home game of the 2009-10 season, concluding the second year of USD’s Torero Achievement Club outreach program with the County Office of Education.

Carrillo School in San Marcos, Monroe Clark Middle School in San Diego, and the Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School were the last three schools to take part in the USD initiative this season, which provided campus tours and basketball tickets to 1,600 students, parents and staff members from 18 other schools over the course of the basketball season.

“We had an incredible time,” said Spring Valley Middle School teacher Bill Thomas, whose school toured the campus and attended the February 4 USD-University of San Francisco basketball game. “Our tour guides did a great job. I had many students saying ‘This is where I want to apply.’ The parents were also impressed and very thankful for the opportunity.”

“This was the students´ first experience with college and it will certainly get the ball rolling for them on their path to college,” said Washington Middle School AVID teacher Michelle DeCosta, whose group travelled all the way from Vista on February 6 their tour and the Toreros game against Santa Clara University . “We had six of our teachers participate in the field trip, and the word is spreading across campus that it was a very worthwhile day.”

The Torero Achievement Club was initiated by USD Associate Athletic Director Steve Becvar, as a way to bring elementary and middle school students onto the campus and into the Jenny Craig Pavilion for a men’s basketball game. Becvar’s office provided tickets to the games and arranged for the tours. The San Diego County Office of Education notified schools of the opportunity, distributed the tickets and answered staff and parents questions.

A similar outreach effort was held during the football season, and head football coach Ron Caragher also visited several local elementary and middle schools, with a handful of players each time, to talk about the importance of school, physical fitness and personal responsibility.

Both programs will be continued in the respective athletic seasons. The County Office of Education will also help school devise their own reward/incentive program for students, making use of the Torero’s tickets and athletes to reward student achievement, behavior and attendance.

For more information about the Torero Achievement Program, or to discuss other potential incentive/reward programs for K-8 students, contact Jim Esterbrooks of the County Office of Education at