Inspiring future Lumberjacks is a treasured NAU tradition that NAU alumna and teacher Mamie Spillane recently upheld when she arranged for a collection of Northern Arizona University gear to be delivered to her third-grade class at Prince Elementary School in Tucson.

The class of 13 students beamed as they donned new NAU hats, scarves and pompons which were donated by the NAU President’s office and Athletics Department. NAU provided these gifts to inspire the students to strive to attend and succeed in college. For these students in particular, higher education is a dream that was once beyond reach.

“The kids’ spirit during assemblies is now at an all time high,” Spillane said. “They feel very proud to be Lumberjacks and are beginning to understand that attending college is an attainable goal for all of them.”

Letter from a future Lumberjack

A thank you letter from Fatima, a future Lumberjack in Mamie Spillane’s third-grade class.

The students sent handwritten thank-you notes back to NAU stating how much they love NAU and being Lumberjacks.Spillane’s students hail from countries all around the world including Bhutan, Somalia, Argentina and Mexico and were brought to the United States by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees agency. Many students are survivors of war tragedies and lived in refugee camps for extended periods of time. Some had little or no schooling before coming to the United States.

“They are all very happy to be here in the U.S. and are eager to learn,” Spillane said. “They are a joy to teach.”