Helen Lehman Elementary School Principal Alisa Haley has a mission: Collect a college t-shirt for each of her 530 students to wear.

The idea is to help kids believe they can go to college, she said. Most students at Helen Lehman would be the first in their family to go to a university, she added. She was inspired by The College Tee Project, started by Santa Rosa City Schools Board Member Jenni Klose.

“We should start talking to students in elementary school about how college is always an option,” she said.

She’s already received some donations, among them 25 UCLA volleyball shirts and two Harvard shirts. Haley’s father, the first in his family to go to college, sent the first college t-shirt he owned.

“Each time we get more shirts in, it’s like a holiday,” she said.

She’s asking people to donate shirts from their Alma Maters, in sizes  youth large through adult medium. She also asks them to include a note explaining what college meant to them.One person who donated a CSU Chico shirt talked about her journey from Santa Rosa Junior College to that university.

“That was great, it helped kids know there are stepping stones,” she said.

Shirts can be sent to 1700 Jennings Ave., Santa Rosa.