Reviewing college options

Published 9:55 pm Monday, February 4, 2013

At Suffolk Public School’s first Career and College Readiness Fair, held at King’s Fork Middle School on Saturday, Sherry Jones and her sons, King’s Fork Middle students Lamar and Lamont Jones and Oakland Elementary student Lemuel Jones Jr., chat with Norfolk State University admissions counselor Anderson Peoples.

Suffolk Public Schools’ first Career and College Readiness Fair, at King’s Fork Middle School on Saturday, provided important information for students deciding what to do post-school.

The event involved more than 20 workshops and close to 60 information booths, according to a district news release.

“We are very pleased with the turnout,” said district Superintendent Deran Whiney, one of several local education officials to attend the event.

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“It’s an excellent opportunity to provide choices for parents. It’s (also) an opportunity for students … (to) find information that they may not have been aware of.”

Based on pre-registrations, an Access College Foundation workshop on how to get help paying for college was the most popular workshop, Whitney said.

The foundation’s Courtney Morris said the main topic her workshop covered was the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

“Basically, if any one wants any type of financial aid … in their senior year they are required to fill out the federal form,” she explained.

The foundation, which works across 29 high schools in South Hampton Roads, has helped students complete more than 1,500 FAFSA forms since Jan. 1, according to Morris.

“This year, we’re seeing parents who have more money but are still filling out forms, because the cost of college is rising,” she said.

Sherry Jones, who attended the fair with her sons Lamar, Lamont and Lemuel Jones, said they were interested in science and technology, and “this (the fair) will give them a foundation of what colleges have to offer.”

Angelique Satchell said her son Devin Taylor, a King’s Fork High School senior, has already applied to Old Dominion and Norfolk State universities, “and this will give him a chance to look at other schools that he may be interested in.”

District Deputy Superintendent Jacqueline Chavis said the fair was Whitney’s idea. “The superintendent saw the need for us to make this available for parents,” she said.

“Typically we’ve had a college fair, but this is the first time we have combined colleges and workshops.”