You could call it “multiple school spirit” since 27 different college and university cheers were shouted and given “two thumbs up!” by Steadley Elementary School students.

You could call it "multiple school spirit" since 27 different college and university cheers were shouted and given "two thumbs up!" by Steadley Elementary School students.

At the last monthly assembly at Steadley, the No Excuses University program was visibly thriving with the students and staff. Last summer, Steadley joined the list of four other Carthage schools certified with the nation-wide program to get elementary students thinking and dreaming about higher education, their goals and what it will take to get there.

When a school becomes certified under the No Excuses program, each classroom adopts a college or university for the students to study and celebrate. Teachers write letters and send emails to the schools and ask if there is anything the school would like to send the classroom. For Brittiany Nixon's kindergarten class, the University of Alabama sent T-shirts.

"It's made the kids realize that this is just the beginning," Nixon said. "Even in kindergarten, they see that it will take a lot of hard work to reach their dreams, and this (program) exposes them to the options that are out there."

The students stood up in front their peers during the assembly on Wednesday, and chanted their classroom's chosen university cheer. The pep rally atmosphere kept the students engaged in celebrating each others' achievements for the month, and lifted spirits to do well on upcoming tests. Steadley Principal Dr. Tom Barlow said he and the students have fun while thinking about the future.

"We believe that successful people have dreams, and if you don't dream it, it won't happen," he said.

The Steadley P.E. Coach, Lowell Catron, agreed No Excuses helps students visualize a better tomorrow.

"I think it's a great program," he said. "To me, it's a program that gets the kids concentrating on their goals and thinking about what's down the road for them."

The Carthage Middle School, Fairview Elementary, Columbian Elementary and Mark Twain Elementary are the other four schools in the Carthage school district that are in the No Excuses network. The program, which was established in California by Damen Lopez of Turnaround Schools, is a partnership between the school, students and parents to familiarize higher education to students at a very early age.

Steadley fourth grader Trevaughn Shaw said his classroom adopted the Oregon State University Ducks.

"When I grow up I want to be a fireman," he said. "I want to go to college, get a scholarship and degree."