HunterCollegeFairAerialOver 200 local students received valuable and timely information at Senator Mattie Hunter and Rep. Sonya Harper’s college fair at VanderCook College of Music. Saturday’s fair could not have arrived any sooner for one graduating senior.

Meet Ronnesha Whitfield, an Ombudsman High School senior, who is graduating in three weeks.

“I didn’t expect for it to be this awesome and amazing to get information from the colleges,” said Whitfield. “People are not informed that much. They might hear about a college from other people but they don’t know much more until they meet recruiters.”

The future software engineer expressed concerns about test scores but learned that the colleges in attendance would not only accept her, but would offer scholarships.

Ronnesha and teens from 16 local high schools including DuSable Leadership Academy, Hirsch High School, Williams Prep and Bronzeville Scholastic arrived with transcripts and questions about their future.

“Students walked in prepared. For some, they were able to apply to their dream schools before returning home,” said Hunter (D-Chicago, 3). “I’m glad these young people took full advantage of this opportunity to, in some cases, become the first in their family to apply to college.”

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission and nearly 30 representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Chicagoland area, such as City Colleges of Chicago, and across the Midwest attended the fair geared toward first-generation college students.

"The fair gave high school students an unparalleled opportunity to talk with representatives of various colleges, and equally as important, the chance to look at the financial aid options available to them, all in one place," said Representative Sonya Harper (D-Chicago, 6), the event's co-sponsor.

"The college fair really helped students who may not know someone with college experience. It helped them understand what options are available,” said Brandon Meyers, Regional Director of Monmouth College, Hunter’s alma mater.

In the fall of 2016, Senator Hunter and Representative Harper will host their next college fair, which will include representatives from vocational and trade schools, colleges and universities.


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