East Aurora High hosts College and Career Readiness Fair
On Oct. 20, East Aurora High School hosted a College and Career Readiness Fair for juniors and seniors in the high school field house.
Thirty-three college and trade representatives were on hand to provide students with admission and apprenticeship information. More than 1,000 students attended during their lunch periods.
Asa Gordon, director of middle and secondary college and career readiness for District 131, helped organize the fair and stressed the event's significance for students.
"Today's fair allowed students another opportunity to learn about the various paths they can pursue after high school graduation," Gordon said. "It provides students a space that allows for hope and opportunity to exist."
College and trade representatives on hand provided students with admission and apprenticeship information. Through one-on-one conversations with the representatives, students could envision themselves studying a trade or taking college courses.
Gyselle Tavizon, a senior Tomcat who attended the Fair and will graduate in May, appreciated the opportunity to speak directly to college representatives.
"Today gives me an opportunity to see my options, and with this format, I'm actually interacting directly with the colleges, rather than just having teachers or counselors tell me about schools," Tavizon said.
Like most students at the fair, Tavizon made her way to several tables.
"I spoke to North Central College, Waubonsee Community College, and also the University of Illinois. At the Illinois table, I learned that they have an excellent business program, and that's what I'm thinking about studying -- business and accounting."
Tavizon came prepared to ask questions on a variety of topics. "I asked about their business and accounting program, but also about their residence halls," Tavizon said.
Marisol Velazquez, a freshman admission counselor at Aurora University, was one of the representatives present, working behind one of the more popular tables at the fair.
"It felt like I got to meet with the entire student body," joked Velazquez. "It was wonderful."
Her job is to connect with high school students, staff, and parents to help facilitate admissions and financial processes for students at Aurora University. At the Fair, Velazquez fielded questions such as the size of the school, the programs offered by Aurora University, and different opportunities students can find.
"Many of the students I spoke with today were very eager to start the admissions process," Velazquez said. They asked questions about financial aid and scholarships that may be available to them, too."
She said she was happy to see so many curious students who wanted to get more information.
For students, her advice was never to be afraid to begin the conversation with colleges and get the information they need. "We're not scary people, and we're all just here to help facilitate the college admissions process. We want to help."
Velazquez added that parents should know that college is accessible for their children.
In addition to the college and university representatives at the fair, Asa Gordon pointed out that there were also seven trades represented.
"Some young people want to begin work immediately after high school, so it is essential to expose them to the various trade and technical opportunities that are available," Gordon said. "Our trades can provide a very rewarding career."
Gordon used the example of students who may be interested in becoming an electrician. "These students need to know how to enter the job field successfully," he said. "Many union halls provide assistance and study guides to help potential applicants pass certification examinations, however, many high school students may not have received this information.
Gordon underscored the importance of events like the College and Career Readiness Fair for students.
"All of our work in East Aurora School District 131 aligns with ensuring that all students can become productive citizens in our community," he said.
"We want to continue and build on events like today to allow students to envision and achieve their full potential. We want students to become encouraged and enlightened to the vast possibilities that await them."
Colleges and trades represented at the College and Career Readiness Fair: Aurora University, Benedictine University, CISCO: Education-to-Career, Coe College, Columbia College Chicago, CompTIA Tech, DePaul University, Douglas J. Aveda Institute, Eastern Illinois University, Elmhurst University, Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois, Governors State University, Illinois Army National Guard, Illinois College, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lewis University, Loyola University Chicago, NECA -- IBEW 461, North Central College, Northern Illinois University, NROTC Scholarship Coordinator, Pipefitters 597, Rockford University, Saint Xavier University, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, University of Chicago, University of St. Francis, Upper Iowa University, Waubonsee Community College, Waubonsee Works/Waubonsee Community College, and Western Illinois University.