Students scope schools at college fair

Published 11:42 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011

College fair: Michelle Flynn and Kiaorel Wright, both seniors at King’s Fork High School, discuss Hollins University with admissions representative Aimee Perkins to find out more about the school at the 2011 Suffolk Public Schools College Fair at King’s Fork Monday. Wright said she attended the fair because she wanted to learn more about the colleges she is considering.

Victoria Dalla Villa has one requirement for the college she attends: a strong dance program.

“I don’t know what school I want to go to, but I know I want to major in dance,” she said.

To narrow down her choices, Dalla Villa was one of hundreds of students who attended the Suffolk Public Schools 2011 College Fair Monday at King’s Fork High School.

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Dalla Villa came to the event with her father, James, and visited several different booths, including those of George Mason and Elon universities.

“It’s a good opportunity to come out and talk to them and find what they have and what I can bring to the school,” she said.

The college fair, which is held annually, is open to juniors and seniors in Suffolk schools.

Every year, the responsibility to host the fair shifts between the three high schools, and this year, it was King’s Fork’s turn.

Guidance counselor Renea Coley, who coordinated the fair, said having the fair is a great way for students to learn about their choices for schools.

“Not all students can go and visit the colleges,” she said. “This gives the students the opportunity to come to their local school and talk and ask questions (of the colleges).”

More than 50 four-year universities, community colleges and technical schools, from both Virginia and other states, sent representatives to the event to greet students and answer questions. Representatives from four branches of the military also had booths.

Among the maze of tables set up in the King’s Fork cafeteria, Shawn Sinkler was a man of a mission.

Sinkler, also a senior at Nansemond River, had made a list of colleges he wanted to learn more about.

“I wanted to look at them before I went for a college visit,” he said.

During the fair, Sinkler sought out Radford, Virginia State, Old Dominion and Shenandoah universities.

Sinkler, who wants to study nursing, said his goal for the college fair was to find out from the admissions representatives what the campuses look like and how many students attend.

“I’m just trying to figure out the campuses,” he said.

Along with the seniors at the fair, King’s Fork junior Kevin Butts got a head start on his college career at the event.

“I’m just checking out different things,” he said.

He said he wants to study culinary arts, and he came out to the fair to explore the program offerings.

In contrast to Butts, Nansemond River senior Alyssa Sperlazza doesn’t have much time to spare in finding a college, but she is on her way to making a decision.

“I have it narrowed down to five,” she said, adding that Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison universities are her top picks.

While she toured the college fair to narrow her choices down more, Sperlazza had her mother, Linda, with her for support.

“There are a lot of options, and it’s a tough decision,” Linda Sperlazza said. “I want her to make the right choice for her to be successful.”