by Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY – Middle and High school students from across the metropolitan area thronged a College Fair Saturday (August 29) where the emphasis was on affordability and practical steps that can be taken to bring higher education within reach for urban young people.
Aimed at 7-12 graders, the program drew representatives from the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Langston University, Oklahoma Baptist University and other institutions.
The event drew good participation from black elected officials serving in various positions in Oklahoma County, including state Rep. Mike Shelton, a lead organizers, state Rep. George Young, and Ward 7 City Councilman John Pettis, among others.
In a note to The City Sentinel, Rep. Shelton said an estimated 700 young people turned out. Breakout sessions were held every half hour, he said, “and every one was full, all morning.”
A gratified Shelton said, “This sends a great message that we need to be providing these types of opportunities for families and their children, helping our students to create career paths.”
The Fair took place at the Metro Technology Centers campus, 1900 Springlake Drive.
In advance publicity for the program, Shelton said, “I often hear young people say that college is too expensive for them to attend, or that they have not taken their academics seriously enough and don’t think they would qualify to go to college.
“I want our young people to know that not only is college within their reach, but that most colleges will work with students who do not have the best grades or test scores. There is always a way to attain a college diploma, even if it means taking a non-traditional route.
“The return on a college investment is so great that it frustrates me to see so many young people missing out on the opportunity to take a step toward a successful life.
“Parents can never begin planning too early for their children’s collegiate options. That’s why middle-school students are urged to attend the college fair, to increase their outlook and to help them gain an idea of what their potential choices are.”