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PHS College and Career Day sees growth

PHS alum Leye Oyatayo visits with Dylan Shipp about Sterling.

The growth at Princeton High School isn’t just about student enrollment. This increase in population also transfers over to college and career day, as more than 90 schools were on campus for the college fair.

“As we get bigger, we attract bigger numbers and this translates to more options for the students,” counselor Wendy Cain said.

There were also nearly 50 jobs or fields represented at the career sessions.

“The local community really stepped up to assist by speaking with the students,” Mrs. Cain said. “We had lots of options this year that we didn’t use to have.”

This increase in numbers and variety is a benefit to the students.

“We are super excited because this is the biggest event we’ve ever had,” said assistant principal Jason Brown, who helped coordinate the day with the counselors. “This was really good for the students because they had more options to explore and see if it was something they wanted to pursue one day. The speakers are really able to give them the ins and outs of what it takes to do the jobs.”

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Juniors and seniors split their time between the college fair, which featured 90 schools and all branches of the military, and a presentation on their options for paying for their post-secondary education.

This year’s format followed the same schedule developed last year as juniors and seniors were allowed more time to browse the college fair and visit with representatives and learn about financial aid.

“College and career training can be daunting and the costs overwhelming, but we want to help our students have the information that will help them plan,” Mrs. Cain said.

The upperclassmen need the exposure to colleges now.

“The college fair is important to juniors and seniors because they are in the process of making those choices and seeing what’s right for them,” Mr. Brown said.

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Career day allowed the freshman and sophomore students to learn about different careers.

“We want the students to have the tools and abilities to make the choices that are best for them, so the freshmen and sophomores are being introduced to different careers,” he said. “With some of these new interests, some students may decide to change their endorsement plan, because these sessions could give them ideas of what they want to do after school.”

According to Mr. Brown, the students at PHS selected their career options, and the most popular selections were certified nurse assistant, cosmetology and welding.

“We offer all those programs here at PHS, so this could help shape their high school experience and give them a taste of what the future might be like.”

Although counselors and administrators organized the event, it took help from different programs to make the day a success.

The culinary arts program and PALs students served as the day’s hospitality hosts.

Angela Alcocer and Chase Cooper prepare the hospitality breakfast.

The PALs students served as the first phase of hospitality as they greeted college representatives and assisted them during table setups. Phase II of the hospitality effort came in the form of a home cooked brunch for the college visitors. This was the culinary arts program’s first big cooking event of the year.

“We have been cooking for college day since it started many years ago,” culinary arts teacher Crystal Telles said. “The kids work hard to make sure our guests have a positive experience with our program.”

According to Mrs. Telles, the career day brunch has evolved over the years to allow students the opportunity to be involved.

“I have been helping since the very beginning of college and career day,” she said. “I remember being up here with Ms. Lowrance making homemade biscuits and gravy at 4 in the morning. We started involving the kids when the culinary program was created.”

Simon Samples looks up his room assignment for career day.

It still involves an early morning alarm for the students.

“It’s not fun to get up this early when I’m used to sleeping in for late arrival,” said culinary student Chase Cooper. “But it’s worth it to get to cook because I enjoy it.”

The brunch featured homemade quiche, muffins, fruit and gourmet coffee and juice, and Ogle School of Cosmetology representative Kevin Garner was very complimentary of the PHS hospitality.

“This is not the norm,” Mr. Garner said. “We usually just get a bunch of donuts, and the kids are not cooking for us. This is a nice treat.”

Austin College rep Harri Drake talks to Jacqueline Gomez.

According to Chase, hearing these compliments is an added bonus.

“This makes me feel good about what we are doing,” he said. “I’m happy to hear everyone say how much they enjoyed what we made.”