M-PHS College Fair draws crowd

MARYSVILLE — In spite of the night’s heavy rain, more than 270 parents and students turned out for the Nov. 6 Marysville-Pilchuck High School College Fair.

While M-PHS Parent Teacher Student Association Co-President JoAnn Moffitt has chaired the fair in years past, she couldn’t do so as PTSA president, so she thanked Caryn Young for stepping up to help make the event such a success.

Moffitt has been involved with the fair every other year, over a seven-year span, and in that time, she deemed this fair “the best we’ve had,” thanks to coordination with the school’s Smaller Learning Communities.

SLCs break larger schools such as M-PHS, with more than 1,000 students, into smaller segments, to foster a greater sense of belonging and familiarity among students within the school community, by making them feel like part of the school and well-known by both teachers and fellow students.

In addition to passing word of the fair through fliers and reader-board messages, students were able to meet about their culminating projects and take part in break-out sessions at the fair, which devoted 25 minutes each to subjects such as financing students’ educations, the GET, SAT and ACT, and even essay-writing.

M-PHS freshman Carly Wilson spoke with representatives of Pacific Lutheran University, among other institutions, but she admitted that she’s still a ways away from making any sort of decision.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do yet,” Wilson said. “I’m into the arts, but I’m very uncertain. I’m open-minded because I have three years yet.”

Wilson appreciated the number of relatively local community colleges that were represented at the fair.

Kali Albin, an admissions advisor for Western Washington University, was willing to dispense some helpful advice to students regardless of what school they might choose.

“Apply earlier rather than later, and visit your top two schools, no matter where they are,” Albin said. “Going to these fairs is my job, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s awesome to be able to advise all these young people, with their great enthusiasm. I’m here to relieve stress, not create it.”

Loretta Boerger was wearing two hats Nov. 6, since she’s both a teacher and a parent at M-PHS. In both roles, however, she praised the variety of colleges and universities whose representatives were staffing information tables at the fair.

“My daughter wants to go into environmental science and she was looking out of state,” Boerger said. “It turns out that Western offers volleyball, which she plays, and environmental science as well. Students need to work hard because they’ve got a lot of competition. Doing a good job in high school helps them be more successful in college.”

Moffitt explained that the fair’s goal is to provide an opportunity for both students and parents to meet with college representatives, as well as other parents, to talk about educational and financial options.

“Not every kid can go down to Seattle for a fair like this,” Moffitt said. “This way, they can get their questions answered locally. It’s also crucial that it be held in the evenings, so that parents can be present. After all, they’re the ones paying for it.”

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