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A New Seawolf in the Making 

As part of Ms. Khieta Davis’ AVID Strategies class project of learning about colleges, a 6th grade student from East Irondequoit Middle School, in Rochester, NY, wrote an inspiring letter to Stony Brook’s Rick Gatteau, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and got what he asked for and more!  

Dr. Gatteau visited East Irondequoit Middle School in Rochester to meet with Ms. Kheita Davis' class and with Derek, the student who wrote him a letter expressing his desire to one day attend Stony Brook.
Dr. Gatteau visited East Irondequoit Middle School in Rochester to meet with Ms. Kheita Davis’ class and with Derek, the student who wrote him a letter expressing his desire to one day attend Stony Brook.

AVID Strategies is a college readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college, and Derek, the 6th grade student, expressed in his letter his desire to one day attend Stony Brook, how he couldn’t wait to be a Seawolf, and requested a Stony Brook T-shirt for their group picture.  

Serendipitously, Dr. Gatteau was going to be in Rochester attending a conference that was located in a nearby area. “When I looked at the letter I realized it was from Rochester, NY, and while I had never been to Rochester before, I was traveling there for work this week! So I reached out to the teacher to see if I could visit the school and surprise Derek and the class with our famous ‘What’s a Seawolf?’ T-shirts.”

After coordinating with the school district, Dr. Gatteau met Ms. Davis, the school principal, the AVID class and Derek. He had the opportunity to talk with the class and answer their questions about college and his role in the University, besides delivering Seawolf swag to the whole class. Derek and the class were thrilled to hear about college — and especially about Stony Brook — straight from the horse’s mouth.    

When asked about his experience, Dr. Gatteau said, “My parents were both elementary school teachers, so education has been an important part of our family. Meeting Derek and the class brought back a lot of wonderful school memories and reminded me how much great teachers impact our lives. A day I will never forget!” 

Click here to view the “What’s Up, Rick?” video of the event. 

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