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August 21, 2014, 7:56 pm

Youth plan future at college, career fair

Parents, students, and community leaders all gave the 2012 College, Vocational & Labor Information Fair high marks.

The gathering was held at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church East, 2800 W. Cheltenham Ave., on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It was hosted by the office of state Rep. Cherelle Parker.

While many were visiting the tables of local state and private universities as well as HBCUs, others were checking out the labor unions’ apprenticeship programs. Information was also given on grants provided by Philly Goes 2 College, the U. S. Department of Education and the Philadelphia Education Fund.

“I wanted to bring my daughter here to find out ways for her to be able to leave Philly and go away to college,” said Jessica Thomas, who lives in West Philadelphia. “I think it’s a better experience for students to go away and then come back to this city. I know that’s what I did and I think it’s a great experience.”

Marisol Thomas, 16, already has her sights on the University of Miami. The high school junior said as part of the Say Yes Education program she hears about college fairs. “This is the second one I’ve attended and I plan to learn as much as I can,” she said.

Mike McEachin of West Oak Lane brought his daughter, Courtney Haywood, 15, to the college fair. He said since his oldest son attended Bloomsburg University he insisted his daughter begin deciding where she wanted to continue her education. Haywood readily admitted she had not given higher education much thought.

“I know she is saying that she wants to stay here,” McEachin said. “So, I said we can look into Temple University or Community College. I know they also have the vocational schools here, but I really believe that she needs a college education. In the future if you have a degree you will be in more demand.”

Nina Muto, who represented Montgomery County Community College, said she was talking to those who were on hand about the benefits of getting an associate’s degree. Muto said that the credits earned at Montco can transfer to a four year college.

“It makes economic sense since you will pay much less for those first two years of college,” Muto said.