More than 1,000 eighth-grade students and their parents packed George Westinghouse College Prep in East Garfield Park for the Austin-North Lawndale Elementary Network’s annual high school fair Thursday night.
Students from across the West Side had the opportunity to meet with representatives from more than 30 high schools in Chicago to help them decide which school they wish to attend next year.
Charles Tate, 13, a student at Alain Locke Charter School in East Garfield Park, stood in front of a table with a life-sized dummy arm attached to thin tubes and a bag filled with imitation blood. The dummy-arm was a representation of the phlebotomy training courses Manley Career Academy High School, 2935 W. Polk St., offers to its students.
“That’s cool,” Tate said to the school leader behind the table.
Tate wants to attend either Manley Career Academy or UIC College Prep.
“I want to be a cardiac surgeon,” he said.
Jacqueline Brooks-Paige, a differentiated instruction specialist for the Austin-North Lawndale Elementary Network, said the high school fair helps students decide on a school that will address their specific interests.
“The fair is extremely important,” Brooks-Paige said. “They need to know their options.”
The two-hour fair required students to bring a “passport” to various school stations and receive a stamp from a representative of the schools they liked.
He said he is interested in attending the school, as he’s heard “good things” about it.
Annette Gurley, chief officer of elementary schools for the Austin North Lawndale Elementary Network, said far too many times students choose high schools based on where someone in their family attended or on old reputations of schools. She said the elementary network wants to make sure students understand there are lots of options.
“We want to make sure students are aware of their options early enough that it will make a difference,” said Gurley.
“This gives us the opportunity to put as many of those options as we can in one place for them.”
Tyrone Slaughter, an assistant to the administrative director at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, stood at a table with the school’s selective enrollment applications, registration forms and brochures.
“There are no better goodies than information,” said Slaughter.
During the next week, the students will write an essay about their experience and what they learned at the fair, said Brooks-Paige.
For current high school students: The Chicago Youth Centers’ annual college-prep fair will take place Friday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. at the ICE Theatres, 3330 W. Roosevelt Road. More than 40 schools, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, Columbia College, Urban Prep Academy and the Illinois Math and Science Academy will be on hand to answer student’s questions and show them how to apply.