Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Building blocks to an educational future: College nights

College Nights
By Melissa B. Merkler
This is a follow up to my original college nights blog posted in October

Building blocks to an educational future: College nights

The the soon-to-be remodeled gymnasium had one last noisy night of excited high school students fluttering around searching for free stuff and brochures. 
“I’m just browsing the selection to see what the big vending machine of life has to offer me for the right price,” Adult High School student Adam Avellan, said at the 2013 College Night hosted by Seminole State College.

The parents however, looked less amused but instead slightly anxious, probably only seeing dollar signs and babies leaving the nest.
Tables covered in mascot colors formed aisles of information allowing passersby to grab candy, pencils, stress balls and ask questions about what a particular school had to offer.

At International Academy, for instance, three main core programs are offered: massage therapy, cosmetology and barbering, which all involve one-on-one human contact. 
“We can come to a fair like this and feel confident because every person has a different need,” Susan Pirolo, Event Planner at International Academy, said. 
Some may look down upon technical colleges but Ms. Pirolo said “on average” graduating students can make $25 to $30 an hour before tips. 
For other students, International Academy is a stepping-stone, Ms. Pirolo said.
“Some people get a massage therapy certificate and go on to become physical therapists,” she said. “We teach people skills not just technical ability.” 
The importance of human interaction, Ms. Pirolo said, is increasing since the millennium generation is growing up with “i-devices.” 
“We have lost some of our social skills as a result, so it is really important to teach people how to engage with other human beings, and that’s something they are forced to do when they go through our programs,“ she said. 
International Academy also offers discounted services to other students. Just bring a current student ID. 
Seminole State College sits in the backyard of many future and current students.

Gabriella Nicholas, a paid tour guide and full-time Seminole State student, said she chose to go state because it has a “stronger student life.”

Some high school students have no idea where they want to go or what they want to do. So attending College Night was a first step in making that decision for Lake Mary Preparatory student Andrew Wang, which had Florida Polytechnic and University of Central Florida pamphlets in hand.

There’s no doubt about it, whether going to Seminole State or another college, pursuing higher education is definitely a goal most local high school students have.

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