More than 2,600 high school students were on the campus of State Fair Community College Tuesday for the Full Steam Ahead College and Career Day.
The event gives students from 52 areas schools the chance to spend the day gathering information from representatives from more than 40 colleges and military branches who were on site to answer students questions and make them aware programs available at their respective universities.
A number of SFCC faculty and staff members and representatives from area businesses and industry were presenters as students were given the opportunity to learn about potential career choices.
“As far as we know, this is the largest event of its kind in the state,” SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson said. “It is a great opportunity for students from our 14-county service area to learn about potential careers, college degree programs and the many opportunities available for scholarships and financial aid.
“We think this is really just a tremendous opportunity for the students to try to narrow their focus and identify the programs that interest them,” Anderson added.
For those who attended the event the day offered the opportunity to learn more about fields and colleges that interested them.
“I want to be a teacher,” Hannah Lemons, a junior at Northwest High School, said. “I think today will help guide me in the choices I have for college.”
Sacred Heart juniors Travis Holt and Alden Harding were in the process of visiting several college vendors, each with a slightly different goal in mind.
“I’m not completely sure what I want to study yet,” Holt said. “I want to look at what the schools have to offer.”
“I’m really looking at scholarships,” Harding commented. “I want to see what are the best financial opportunities for what I am considering.”
With colleges from across the state and neighboring states in attendance, students had numerous chances to start to narrow their choices.
“When I was a student we had to rely on our home school counselor to let us know about the colleges that were out there and available to us,” Eric Rehmer, CTC Machine Tool Instructor at SFCC, said. “Today is a great opportunity for the students to see colleges from around the state and outside the state as well.
“I think it’s wonderful that the college does this because it is such a great resource,” he added. “It gives them so much exposure to what is out there.”
Rehmer spent a portion of the morning meeting the high school students he teaches each day, directing them to schools that offer programs they may be interested in for future careers.
The freshmen and juniors from Concordia were also taking advantage of learning more about their interests.
“We’ve been coming here for the last 15 years,” Brent Cooper, A+ coordinator and athletic director at Concordia, said. “We let the sophomores and seniors have a day of job shadowing and bring the other grades here, even if they aren’t A+ students.
“We have about 40 students in our graduating class each year and usually 15 or so come to State Fair to take advantage of the A+ funds,” he added. “We really want to give all our students the opportunity to see what’s available to them and today really helps provide that information for them.”
For many students, they may not be aware of other possibilities if they only focus on one education or career path.
“For a lot of our students this is a real eye opener,” Holly Wilson, assistant principal at Sacred Heart, said. “SFCC does a great job of making today fun but yet really informative for the students.
“There really is a lot of useful information here today for the students to take advantage of,” Wilson added.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484