What do you want to be when you grow up?
Rather than cueing usual moans and groans from kids, this typically dreaded question isn’t nearly as ominous as it was before, thanks to the staff at Port Chester Middle School.
This past Friday morning marked the institution’s First Annual College Fair, a festival complete with tables set up by 13 universities including Purchase College, Iona College and New York City's Parsons School of Design.
“It’s been interesting to walk around and see the different types of [programs] people go to school for,” said student Emma Manos.
School officials said they understand that thinking about the future after high school may seem daunting for those kids who don’t know a lot about the college application process.
“We want to start getting [our students] to have the vision of college—in my eyes it’s never too early to start planning,” said Vice Principal Byron Womack.
To help quell those fears, representatives from local schools came equipped with pamphlets, flyers and souvenirs to help get kids excited about going for a degree in the field of their choice.
“College looks like fun—to be able to make your own decisions on what you want to do with your life,” said student Isabella Roca.
The eighth graders were not simply passing by each booth, though. In addition to wearing T-shirts with "Port Chester University" across the front, they were also required by their teachers to carry an information checklist as they browsed the gymnasium.
By the time they returned to class, the Port Chester kids were armed with almost more information than they could keep track of—including size, how many undergraduates attend the school, and what types of financial aid are available at a handful of the different campuses.
“We don’t want the kids thinking going to college is not an option—there are more options than ever, so it’s better they prepare earlier,” said Womack, who also served as a Port Chester High School guidance counselor for nine years.
After the exhibition, Manos and Roca agreed they already had an interest in going away to school after seeing the opportunities for college life at a few of the booths.
“The students seemed to be enjoying themselves. When we looked around, every table was filled,” said guidance counselor Raymond Sarcone.