Zillah teacher encourages success with almost 400 pennants - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Zillah teacher encourages success with almost 400 pennants

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ZILLAH, WA - Today was the first day of classes at Zillah High School. For students, college is the last thing on their minds, but math and history teacher Josh Simmons is having that conversation with his students through almost 400 college pennants on his walls.

"The goal is to have them see that high school is not the end, you have to keep on training after this and that there are other places to go as well," said Simmons.

Simmons was inspired to do this last school year during the school's college signing day. Over the summer he emailed hundreds of schools to participate in his project.

"I thought that was a really good idea, maybe get some stuff from colleges hang up some pennants, get some kids interested in college early on," Simmons said. "Freshman, sophomore year let's start thinking about what it takes to go to school."

Simmons has pennants from every state except Nevada and Arkansas. He also has some from schools overseas.

"I'd say that the furthest one away is from Temple, the Japan campus," said Simmons.

Simmons says he's dedicated to teaching his students about every college in his room - with an incentive.

"When I talk about a college, say we're going to talk about Alabama one day. When I talk about Alabama we'll have either a quiz at the end or we'll talk about it and a kid will get a free shirt form that school," Simmons explained.

During the school year, Simmons hopes to add more pennants to his class. He's running out of space, but has a solution.

"My first goal is to start going up and around the room," he said. "If that goes overboard then we might start hanging them from the ceiling as well."

Simmons' goal is to have 500 pennants by the end of this year.