COSTA MESA — Anyone walking around Sonora Elementary School this year would notice the changes.
University flags hang outside classrooms. Teachers and students wear different college T-shirts. Words like graduate, dormitory and dean's list have entered the student lexicon.
College is everywhere.
Sonora was recently accepted into the No Excuses University, a network of elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S. dedicated to exposing students to collegiate symbolism and preparing them for college.
"We drum it into them because the theory of No Excuses University is if you wait until high school to start talking about college, it's too late," said Principal Christine Anderson.
Sonora is one of only two Orange County schools in the network, the other being Killybrooke Elementary.
But being part of the network is more about a philosophy than just a new program, said Anderson. She added that she doesn't think some of her school's families would have talked to their children about college if it weren't for No Excuses.