King’s Fork hosts Junior Day event

Published 10:27 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2019

It was a day for the juniors at King’s Fork High School.

During the Junior Day program Wednesday, students heard from recent graduates of the school who offered advice on making future plans. They also had the opportunity to meet with 18 college and career representatives during their respective lunches.

The program, in its second year, is designed to get juniors pumped and excited about their future plans, according to the school’s ACCESS College adviser, Adrienne Miller.

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“I try to dedicate a day out of the year — even though every day is for my students — to the juniors to start empowering them and just getting them thinking about their futures, because time is just speeding up,” Miller said.

Because not all students will choose to go to college, she wanted to present students with other options, including entering the military, going to a trade or an apprentice school or going out into the workforce.

“They hear from us … old people all the time,” Miller said, “so it’s good for them to hear from their peers and students that have maybe been out 10 years or less. They talk about their experiences through high school, through college and what it took for them to get to their careers.”

Kayla Harrell, who graduated from King’s Fork in 2012, went to Old Dominion University, graduating in May 2016 with a degree in fine arts with a minor in psychology and art history. Now an elementary school art teacher in Norfolk Public Schools, she told the juniors to seize the moment and prepare for life after high school.

“Go forward, do it, time is not waiting,” Harrell said. “It’s going. If you don’t do it now, you’re just not going to be where you need to be at.”

Harrell said that when she was a junior in school, she was focused and maintained an A/B average, coming to school every day and making honor roll. She said she survived the daunting process of applying to college by staying organized, and she ended up being the first generation from her family to graduate college.

She said now is the turning point for their futures.

“What you do at 16 determines what you do at 21,” Harrell said.

Ben Shapiro, who works for Suffolk Public Works as a traffic signal technician, told students that going to a four-year college is not a prerequisite for being successful.

“I went to a four-year college for a semester, found out it wasn’t for me, (and) decided to work for a living,” said Shapiro, who graduated from King’s Fork High School in 2016. “I started working, and I enjoy it every day. I wake up every day, go to work, basically have fun.”

In high school, Shapiro didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life and changed his mind numerous times about jobs and schools.

“I found that I didn’t want to go to school full time, but I went back to school for work, and I’m finding that I’m enjoying it,” Shapiro said.

Anthony Beamon Jr., who works with children who have behavior issues in Portsmouth Public Schools, graduated from King’s Fork in 2012.

His advice to students was to make a decision on their future, whether it be going into the military, college or getting a job, and taking advantage of the resources available to them. He connected with Miller during his senior year and put together a plan to attend college.

Beamon said he can relate to students who might not know what they want to do after high school.

“I actually didn’t have anything fathomed about what I was going to do post-high school,” Beamon said.

Jasmine Wertz, who graduated from King’s Fork in 2013 and went to Richard Bland Community College before graduating from Norfolk State University, told students that no matter how they are doing now in school, they can still have a good future after they graduate.

“You can be a great person, be successful and know who you are just by listening to people and just taking advice from older people, even if you don’t want it,” Wertz said. “They’re definitely here to help you and carry you along the way.”