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Studying for college: Parish students meet recruiters

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Systems Coordinator and recruiter Shonda Butts, left, shows Vidalia High School senior Jonathan Gauthier how to register for a campus visit at University of Louisiana Monroe Thursday morning during the Concordia Parish college and career day.

VIDALIA — Ke’Swanis Briscoe already knew she wanted to attend Grambling State University after graduation, but meeting with a representative from the college Thursday sealed the deal.

Briscoe, a senior at Ferriday High School, was just one of hundreds of senior students from Concordia Parish District schools that met with 21 representatives from schools, colleges and universities Thursday at a college and career day.

“You learn so much more about the schools or programs by sitting down with a representative than just being on the Internet looking up stuff,” Briscoe said. “I already knew a lot about Grambling, but they told me some things I didn’t know.”

The senior students from the three parish high schools rotated around in 20-minute sessions to visit each of the representatives, which had tables arranged at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center.

Vidalia High School senior Carla Greenlee was in a similar boat as Briscoe — saying she already knew she wanted to attend Louisiana State University.

But hearing representatives speak and collecting information on other schools didn’t hurt, Greenlee said.

“It was good to get more information on some of the other schools I didn’t know had programs in pre-vet,” Greenlee said about the major she hopes to study at LSU. “This way, I already have the information and contacts for the other schools.”

And apart from the traditional four-year schools, the event also featured representatives from a variety of career programs — something Monterey High School senior Jeffrey Spann said was refreshing.

Spann said he was almost 100-percent certain he’ll attend Nicholls State University to major in petroleum engineering en route to his goal of working in the oil fields.

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Ferriday High School senior Jacqulyn Williams checks out a brochure from Northwestern State University.

But talking to representatives from the Lincoln Technical Institute regarding automotive training also caught Spann’s attention.

“That sounded interesting, but I think there’s money in the oil field,” Spann said. “There’s always been good money in the oil field, so that’s where I want to go.

“But I enjoyed hearing from the different schools and programs.”

Spann said the most appealing part of the program at Nicholls was a “7/7 scheduling” which allows students to attend class for seven days and then work at an oilrig for seven days.

“As far as me working when I’m in school, I’ll be at the bottom of the oil field,” Spann said. “But once I get the degree, it’s not as much work.”

Finances is something Northwestern State representative Reed Thomas said is a key topic to keeping students engaged during events like college and career day.

“The two things these kids want to know is do you offer the major I want to study, and financially, can I afford it?” Thomas said. “They’re not going to come if they don’t hear the answers to those two questions, so I have to make sure to provide them all the information.”

Career and technical education coordinator Rhonda Moore said the goal of Thursday’s event was to offer as many options as possible for the variety of students that make up the parish school population.

“We try to fit every group into the event because every child is different, and every child has different post-secondary education in mind,” Moore said. “It’s important for us to have them exposed to those type of careers and schools available, so they can start to make post-secondary education and life choices.”