News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
17th April 2009

Hundreds attend middle-school college fair

posted in Education, Youth |

There was no room left in the parking lot of the Butler School when I got there last night. About 500 parents and students attended the first annual Lowell middle-school college fair—The Pathway to CAN (College Awareness Now). The event offered families an opportunity to learn about college readiness, how to make the most out of high school, financial aid, and more. Tables were set up in the gym for the more than 80 colleges represented at the fair. Workshops on how to pay for college were held for parents in the library while students met with LHS guidance counselors in the auditorium. Along with plenty of information, there were raffles, refreshments, and free giveaways. In all, the event was an incredible success, and kudos to the coordinated efforts of school department staff, teachers, parent liaisons, guidance counselors, and administrators who pulled the program together under the direction of Dr. Phala Chea. In addition to the tremendous number of folks who turned out for the event, the diversity of the families in attendance was truly inspiring. (If only we could capture half that interest at a Citywide Parent Council or school committee meeting!)

No doubt, the earlier we start kids thinking about college, the better. To follow, are a few tidbits from the fair.  First, some advice to the students: Although they don’t have course selection, middle –school kids make choices that impact their college readiness: They choose to attend school, give it their best effort, do their homework, and behave. High school students should take the highest level classes their skills allow, work hard, get good grades, and be involved in other activities such as sports, student government, clubs, and community service. Second, financial planning for parents: Start saving now—even a little bit each month adds up, and take advantage of available resources through MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority). As usual when Lowell students are involved, high energy and creativity were rampant. As one Pyne Arts student noted in his rap to end the night: “The last thing I’m going to say is lead an educated life, and have a good day!”

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