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College and career day a success

Senior Brittany Bryant visits with Alabama rep Dana Morrison. College and career day at PHS exposed students to their options after graduation, as well as ways to maximize their high school experience to better prepare them for their future career.

“College and career day is so important for our students because they only have a few years in high school before they are off to their future,” counselor Kayla Walling said. “It's important for students to start considering what they want to do after high school and the path that they will take to their destination.”

Juniors and seniors split their time between the college fair, which featured 85 schools and five branches of the military, and a presentation on their options for paying for their post-secondary education.

“Students need to consider many things when planning for their future, such as training and education requirements, where they want to study and cost of attendance to different programs,” Ms. Walling said. “We want our students to be informed and prepared in the best way possible for their future.”

Because of this year’s format, juniors and seniors were allowed more time to browse the college fair and visit with representatives and learn about financial aid.

“College and career training can be daunting and the costs overwhelming, but we want to help our students have the information that will help them plan,” she said.

In addition to the upperclassmen, this year's format allowed the freshman and sophomore students to learn about different careers.

Culinary arts student Sky Johnson prepares fruit salad for career day brunch. “These students are not just exploring the CATE center or endorsement careers, but also careers outside of these possibilities,” she said. “We invited back many of our career speakers in a similar format to a few years ago. The freshmen and sophomore students were able to gather more information from career speakers. These speakers work and have experience in the fields in which our students show interest.”

The endorsements offered by PISD were highlighted again this year, with the teachers from these endorsements speaking about careers in these particular fields.

“There is more than just this one day that prepares students, but college and career day brings many different opportunities to learn about different aspects of our school,” Ms. Walling said. “These are important options for our students because many of them express interest in hands-on job training and certification programs. Our programs can help students save a lot of money in job training and allows for them to further their certifications sooner than others in their respective fields.”

The students in the college fair said they were glad to see so many education options to explore.

“I enjoyed seeing the different opportunities to continue my education,” said senior Brittany Bryant. “The college representatives were very helpful.”

Parents were again invited to take advantage of the opportunity to tour the college fair this year.

Junior Savannah Reyna visits with Cole McDonough at Austin College booth. “As a parent, I wanted the chance to ask questions that might help us make a decision,” said parent Lynn Bryant, who browsed the fair with her daughter. “I was glad to visit with the University of Alabama table because we have family near there.”

Although the counselors organized the event, it took help from different programs to make the day a success.

The culinary arts program and PALs students served as the day’s hospitality hosts.

The PALs students served as the first phase of hospitality as they greeted college representatives and assisted them during table setups. Phase II of the hospitality effort came in the form of a home cooked brunch for the college visitors. This was the culinary arts program’s first big cooking event of the year.

The culinary arts lab served as the hospitality suite. “We have been cooking for college day since it started many years ago,” culinary arts teacher Crystal Telles said. “The kids work hard to make sure our guests have a positive experience with our program.”

The counselors said all the volunteers, both inside and outside of PHS, made the day possible.

“We want to thank the teachers and staff for their support,” Ms. Walling said. “And we especially want to thank the community members who volunteered their time to come and speak with our students.”