College fair helps high school students prepare

This year, GDOE is again hosting its annual college fair at the Hyatt Regency Guam from 8 am to 2 p.m. from Sept. 9 to 11.

After spending a decade sitting in classrooms, hanging out with friends during lunchtime, and waiting for the bell to ring, life after high school may seem daunting to some students.

But for the various 11th and 12th-grade students who attended this year’s Guam Department of Education college fair, those fears become more manageable after going through a few workshops, and meeting with both college and military representatives.

According to Dr. Leah Beth Naholowaa, the project director of GDOE’s College Pathway Program, the event is an opportunity for students to made informed decisions about their future.

“We’ve been doing this for four to five years already! We want to help our students decide to go to college. We start prepping them in their junior year and then we help them apply for financial aid, decide what colleges they’re going to go to. We provide them those opportunities,” Naholowaa said.

Some of the speakers at the event included Rodney Jacob, a commissioner of WICHE, a nonprofit agency with a program that helps students attend college at affordable rates.

“Our kids can get huge tuition discounts. So for example, for in-state tuition rates, we pay 150% in-state rates. Let me tell you why that’s important. If you look at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, out of state tuition is $33,000. In-state is $11,000. We pay about 16,” he said.

Jacob says that 56 students are currently enrolled in the program and that the program is not only for those interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree but a graduate degree as well.

As for Jermaine Gamboa, a senior at Southern High School, the event was an enlightening experience.

“To the upcoming students, please try and attend this fair. It’s very educational and I think it’ll help a lot of students out in the near future,” Gamboa said.

In addition, Kyle Quitaro, a senior from Okkodo High School, encourages his fellow peers to keep their options open.

“Look at all the options. Listen to your teachers, focus in class, and participate in class and extracurricular events,” Quitaro said.

On Wednesday, the final day of the college fair will take place at the Hyatt Regency Guam from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. In addition, a mini college fair will also be held on the same day at the Father Duenas Memorial School for private school students.