College Awareness Night introduces senior class to numerous opportunities

Baylee French, Editor

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The Seniors at Galileo Magnet High School had the opportunity to attend a College Awareness Night on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m with TriO’s Educational Opportunity Center for a free informational session on completing the college admission and financial aid process.

“I met with the company last year and they serve students who need additional help with everything from college applications to financial literacy,” Counselor Kendra Hatchett said. “Henry County, Martinsville, Pittsylvania County, Halifax County, and Patrick County are some other districts that they cover.”

TriO is a federal outreach and student services program designed to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities.

“I was really glad that TriO came to our school because it will help all the seniors with making sure that they get everything done that is necessary to get us to college,” Senior Gillianne Link said.

Director of the Educational Opportunities Center Sharon Harris came to the cafeteria to talk to any seniors who were interested in learning more about this program and how they can receive help with the process of going from high school to college.

“I wish that more seniors would have attended but with the people we had I know they actually needed or wanted help and had many questions,” Hatchett said.

The presentation included information about student loans, grants and programs, applying to colleges, scholarships, and tests such as the SAT and ACT.

“It was inspiring and a little overwhelming but since we have our parents there and we have Ms. Hatchett, they motivate us and help us so it isn’t as tiring and overwhelming before we even get there,” Senior Zhauriyah Hutchings said. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to be there and also happy that I have people who care about helping me with my future.”

Harris talked about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a form that can be prepared annually in the U.S. to determine the student’s eligibility for financial aid.

“It made me feel like they really wanted to help us and I definitely got a lot from the presentation,” Senior Jacob Patterson said of the event.

Harris also talked with those gathered about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of student education records. She explained to students that they would need to grant parents access to see their grades and financial information if they wanted them to have it as it would not be automatically granted due to this legislation.

“This year makes me really anxious because you want to make sure you enjoy your last year but you also want to make sure that you find the best place for you and be prepared for the real world after high school,” Senior Aureal Bennett said.

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College Awareness Night introduces senior class to numerous opportunities