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April 1, 2014 > College and Career Night at Schilling Elementary

College and Career Night at Schilling Elementary

Submitted By Jeffrey Garrett

A superintendent, a fireman, and a lawyer walk into a cafeteriaÉ

No, this is not a joke; itÕs the beginning of Schilling Elementary SchoolÕs College and Career Night. On January 23, approximately 350 people showed that they not only value education, but they want the best for their children. The evening started with a welcome to the standing room only crowd. Attendees were given options for types of speakers available, and chose two of the eight classrooms for half hour interactive segments.

Attendees listened to government representatives, emergency personnel, education administrators, scientists, graduates of Newark schools, graduates from Schilling, and aspiring graduates from Newark Unified School District (N.U.S.D.) Students and parents crowded into classrooms to hear options and advice about their futures.

The city attorney impressed students by holding up a book about 25 times thicker than Dr. SeussÕs Green Eggs and Ham and told them that, if they worked hard, they would be able to read big books like these. An RN (registered nurse) in full medical dress passed out surgical hats for the children to wear. High school students nearing graduation, accompanied by their counselor, talked to the students about things that would help them when they advance to junior high and high school. One student stressed that what helped him was to have a balanced life as a family member, student, and athlete. Still another explained the challenges and benefits of AP classes offered at the high school. All students stressed that the best ways to succeed were to talk to teachers and work hard in every grade to prepare for following years of study.

Speakers in all rooms spoke about the progression of their degrees. Almost as if it was planned; in nearly every room someone could be heard to say, ÒI was the first in my family to go to college.Ó Presenters spoke of coming from single parent families, having siblings who decided that college wasnÕt for them, and one who said, ÒMy mom, who only graduated high school, said I was going to go to college. She didnÕt care what I did, but I was going to go to college.Ó Many presenters talked about expanded opportunities when you go to college. A police presenter added the importance of making good choices at all times saying, ÒBe a good citizen, work hard, and nothing is beyond you.Ó This sentiment was echoed throughout the night.

There were many thoughtful questions from both parents and students about what they could do to get into college. The resounding answer from all who were asked, including the high school students, was ÒStart Now!Ó Make up your mind that you are going to go to college and then work toward that goal. The universal and unplanned theme of the night was to treat every year as critical in steps toward college.

People were given the opportunity to go to two rooms during the evening; Schilling staff helped direct people to their chosen speakers. It was a long day for all who stayed and made this night a resounding success, but there were no complaints.

Two presenters in the ÒSchilling GraduateÓ room spoke after the crowd went to the cafeteria for prizes and final thoughts from the coordinators. Jesus Loza, a Stanford student, shook fellow presenter and Stanford graduate Frankie PreciadoÕs hand. Jesus told him that he was the reason he decided to go to Stanford. At a presentation like this, Frankie said that Stanford was a great school. Jesus took that to heart and made it happen. It was moving to see such a rich legacy of Schilling graduates come together to help students succeed. The Schilling community pulls together often to make these after-school events extraordinary, and live up to their mission statement: ÒAll students will learn at high levels to be ready for college or a career.Ó

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