October 15, 2008
Students take step toward future at college fair
About 1,000 high schoolers from 14 districts look over colleges at annual TC3 event
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Lansing High School senior Lori McKane, 17, speaks with admissions representative Buddy Hulser of Corning Community College. Hundreds of area high school students visited Tompkins Community College Tuesday for the 25th Annual College Day/Night program where more than 100 colleges and institutions presented information to high school students and their parents.
DRYDEN — Ashley Crossway held part of her future in her hand: about 20 colorful brochures that described colleges and what they could offer.
The Homer High School junior was on a mission Tuesday at the 25th Annual College Day/Night at Tompkins Cortland Community College’s fieldhouse. She knows she wants to study sports management or athletic training in college.
“I’ve been interested in that for a couple of years,” she said after visiting the table for West Virginia Wesleyan, one of 110 colleges and universities represented. “I talk to our school trainer about making athletes better, whether it’s wrapping tape a certain way or exercises to prevent injury.”
She said the Southern college was appealing because of its majors and its scholarship aid for athletes. She plans to play softball or basketball in college.
“It’s easier to find out about a college here and get honest answers,” Crossway said.
Students swarmed the rows of tables, filling plastic bags with admissions material and randomly talking to the people representing the colleges. TC3 officials said 14 school districts had sent about 1,000 students, mostly juniors.
Some of the college representatives were admissions staff representatives, like Hamilton College’s Bridget Moore, who graduated from Hamilton in May. Some were alumni asked to help, like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Bryan Knight, an engineer at Lockheed Martin in Owego. Some were retired teachers hired to aid recruiting, like Skaneateles resident Bill Huther, a former teacher and coach in Auburn, now recruiting for Albright College.
“Where is that?” a girl asked Huther. In Reading, Pa., he answered, adding that it’s a liberal arts college of 1,500 students.
A Trumansburg student asked Huther to explain the difference between private and public colleges. He did. She asked about Albright’s arts majors. He said there were theater, studio art and painting majors.
“And how’s your biology program?” she asked. Solid, said Huther.
At the Hamilton table, Newfield High School junior Darin Mascaretti inquired about the football team. He said football was one factor in his college choices. Asked what he might major in, he said photography and criminal justice interested him.
His guidance counselor, Rick Pawlewicz, said that is typical of many juniors, who are sifting through all sorts of interests. He said he had brought 65 juniors, including Mascaretti, to let them begin exploring their futures.
“I believe in exposing them to colleges, so when they walk away from here, they can better plan the next two years,” said Pawlewicz, a St. Lawrence University graduate. “This can be pretty overwhelming. The PSAT is coming up, and that’s important in getting ready for the SAT. I brought two-thirds of the junior class today.”
All schools in Cortland and Tompkins counties, plus DeRuyter and Odessa-Montour, bused students to the fair. The program continued in the evening with a slightly different clientele: parents as well as students. Huther said parents’ questions would be more serious and focused, about financial aid and hiring potential for specific career paths.
McGraw High School senior Alicia Giamichael said she was there to gather material from colleges that offer environmental science majors, such as SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
“I’m trying to hit ’em all,” she said. “I’ve been interested in that field as long as I can remember. We have a lot of animals at home.”
After 90 minutes and endless groups of students, Huther was still cheerfully answering questions and asking students to fill out mailing forms for Albright material. He said more fairs await him this week in Binghamton and Elmira.
“Questions upon questions,” he said. “That’s what I’m here for.”
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