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Conference helps students plan futures

Marysville-Pilchuck students, from left, Claudia Guadarrama, Mayia Carretero, Leticia Aparicio and Maria Flores talk to college vendors during the Students of Color Conference at Everett Community College. - Adam Rudnick
Marysville-Pilchuck students, from left, Claudia Guadarrama, Mayia Carretero, Leticia Aparicio and Maria Flores talk to college vendors during the Students of Color Conference at Everett Community College.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

EVERETT — Theresa Sierra’s plans are now in place — graduate high school, attend college and study business and art.

Recently, her goal became a little bit more attainable as the Lakewood High School student received a $500 scholarship from Everett Community College.

“I really didn’t have any idea I was going to win,” Sierra said. “I thought I had a small chance, but as soon as they called out my school, I knew I had won.”

Sierra was among 11 Snohomish County students to receive a scholarship Friday, Jan. 15, during the Students of Color Career Conference at the Everett college.

More than 600 area teenagers were in attendance, including students from Arlington and Marysville.

The six-hour conference was designed to give local middle-school and high-school students of color a chance to meet with job, college and military professionals about their future plans.

Students sat in on career panels featuring job experts. They discussed their future plans with vendors from college, universities and organizations. Some teens, such as Sierra, even received scholarships to help fund their future plans.

Melania Baublitz and Tameka Siplin — both seniors at Arlington High School — said they sat in on one of the panels about human resources.

Students were encouraged to attend three panels total during the day. Experts and professionals on the panels represented business, law, engineering, law enforcement and other fields.

Baublitz said that she thought the panels would probably benefit younger students more.

“The panels seemed a lot about self-knowledge,” Baublitz said. “I’m more interested in the vendors and seeing what kind of deadlines I need to meet.”

After she graduates, Baublitz said she wants to attend Western Washington University to study psychology and anthropology.

Siplin said she’s passionate about theater, but said she might also pursue psychology or the medical field.

Both students spent some time asking college vendors questions about their programs after they got out of their panel discussion Friday morning.

Brothers Dominique and Demetreus Allen spent some time walking down the crowded vendor row at the community college shortly after 11 a.m.

The senior twin brothers from Marysville-Pilchuck High School said they appreciated the conference but they were more interested in pursuing careers in music.

“We’re both really into music and we didn’t see anything,” Dominique Allen said.

Marysville-Pilchuck junior Claudia Guadarrama spent some time checking out vendors after attending some of the panels that the college held. She said panel representatives were encouraging students to continue to pursue their goals.

“I like being able to meet people telling me to not give up on a career,” Guadarrama said. “My plan is to go to community college and then transfer to a four-year school.”

Approximately 175 middle-school and high-school students from the Marysville School District were slated to attend the event, said Lynda Robinson, equity/diversity director for the district.

Final numbers were not available at time of publication.

Thirty-four Arlington High School students made the trip, said Jan Mustered, school-to-career coordinator at the school, while Weston High School was represented by six students.

Approximately 40 or 50 Lakewood students also attended the event.

The conference, now in its eighth year, was founded by Everett Community College accounting instructor Bill Reed and President/CEO of PCSI Design Carlos Veliz.

This year’s keynote speaker was Gustavo Montoya, president of El Mundo — Washington state’s most-read Spanish newspaper, according to a college release.

The conference — part of a week-long celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — was co-sponsored by the city of Everett, Snohomish County and the Everett and Marysville school districts.

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