Oak Creek Jack Montgomery stopped at every table he could get to. He eagerly signed up to receive more information about educational trips to Europe. He glanced at tables covered completely by Colorado Northwestern Community College and Colorado Mountain College pamphlets.
He wanted to learn more.
“Today kind of boosted my attitude about school and my planning for college,” Montgomery said during the first college and career day at Soroco's secondary schools. “I learned more about myself today and how what I do now really affects my future.”
Montgomery, an eighth-grader at Soroco Middle School, still is four years away from high school graduation. He won’t be exposed to senioritis or college application deadlines anytime soon.
But as he visited the informational booths set up by local colleges Tuesday, Montgomery said he was eager to start planning the next chapter of his academic career.
“I want to be a chef like my dad,” he said. “I already know I want to follow in his footsteps.”
Soroco’s secondary schools didn’t hold regular classes Tuesday. Instead, 18 teachers and college and military representatives spent the day talking to students like Jack about how they can prepare for college and careers.
“The fair came together because we felt a need for students to be more prepared when they leave high school and to leave with a concrete plan,” high school counselor Lisa Omori said before more than 100 students started to filter in for the fair. “Sometimes, because we have so much to do academically during the day, we find this piece gets missed a little bit. We wanted to devote a full day to having them explore different options and careers.”
The district’s prospective college athletes kicked off their day by working out with former U.S. Ski Team member and University of Denver national champion David Lamb. Students in grades eight to 12 then heard a motivational speech given by former professional football player and Philadelphia Eagles scout Lance Carl, who now serves as College in Colorado’s director of student motivation.
After the speech, the secondary school students spent the rest of the afternoon rotating through a series of workshops led by the teachers and local college representatives. The sessions taught the students about resume building, the college application process, job interviews and how to choose a major.
“Application deadlines are not negotiable,” Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus admissions director Stephanie Fletcher told a classroom of freshmen, sophomores and juniors. “The earlier you start planning for college, the better.”
Before Tuesday, Soroco High School junior Abbey Horn mostly researched her college choices online.
“We’ve usually been told to go to the websites first,” Horn said after the workshop session with Fletcher. “You can look at all the colleges online, but it’s a different experience when you have all of these people come to your school to answer questions in person. It really is a benefit.”
Freshman Tia Rozell also appreciated the opportunity to talk to college representatives.
“It’s pretty cool to see how this process works,” Rozell said. “College wasn’t a big thing in my family. But knowing all of this makes me want to go even more.”
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com