Allan Hancock College counselor Clint Freeland takes a third grade class from Tunnell Elementary School on a Campus Cruise. The college is inviting teachers to register their classes for a free tour to explore its programs and facilities.

Allan Hancock College has experienced a recent spike in requests for campus tours from teachers of elementary to high school students, which helps prove no one is ever too young to go to college. Hancock administrators are encouraging parents and teachers of children of all ages to register for a tour, recently branded as the “Campus Cruise.”

“I think it is important to expose students to college at an early age,” said Vice President of Student Services Nohemy Ornelas, M.A.

Recently, four third grade classes from Tunnell Elementary School in Santa Maria viewed the millions of dollars in upgrades and renovations made possible by Measure I, which community voters approved in 2006. Their one-hour tour included visits to classrooms, labs, Joe White Memorial Gymnasium, and other stops around the 105 acre park-like campus.

The Campus Cruise evidently impressed the young visitors.  “My favorite part was going inside of the science class because I like science a lot and I want to be a scientist when I grow up,” said nine year old Javen Claborn.

“My favorite part was seeing the beautiful murals and the bookstore because there were a lot of clothes, pencils, keychains and other cool stuff,” added eight year old Jericho Laya.

The tour is intended to inspire visitors and showcase the college, its more than 100 areas of study, as well as the state-of-the-art facilities.

“The Campus Cruise provides our community not only with an opportunity to learn about our programs, but also a chance to begin to conceptualize their futures and picture themselves as college students,” said Ornelas.

Not only did the third graders draw pictures of what they saw on the tour, many of them said they planned to return one day as a Hancock student.

“I plan to go to Hancock because I want to have a good job,” said third grader Mikaylah Perez Cantu.

“I want to go to Allan Hancock College because my mom and my uncle went there,” said Claborn. “I plan to go there to be like my mom and I think it is a great college.”

General guided campus tours are free and available on Thursdays from 10-11:30 a.m.

For more information or to sign up to take a Campus Cruise, visit www.hancockcollege.edu/campuscruise. For groups larger than 25 people, email cfreeland@hancockcollege.edu or call (805) 922-6966 ext. 3565 to tour the Santa Maria campus, or to visit the Lompoc Valley Center, email jadams@hancockcollege.edu or call (805) 922-6966 ext. 5249.