College Night gives students the 'real deal' about college
OKINAWA, Japan — Steering her father through a sea of students and parents in the Kubasaki High School gymnasium, Niko Manning found herself grateful not to miss the opportunity to attend College Night.
“I almost didn’t come because I had so much homework, but I’m really glad I did. People here really know what they’re talking about.”
Niko, a junior at Kadena High School, was one of hundreds who attended the annual DoDEA Okinawa District event Thursday, November 7. She wants to earn an ROTC Scholarship and eventually become a teacher, and College Night was a chance for her to narrow down her choices.
Niko’s father, MSgt. Chris Manning of the 3rd Marine Division, appreciates the convenience of the event. “Everything is centralized,” he said. “It’s all about getting her the most exposure as possible to different schools.”
About 80 colleges and universities were represented at the event by alumni who now reside locally in Okinawa. An additional 190 schools were represented by visual displays and brochures.
Capt. Caleb Eames of the Headquarters and Service Battalion MCB, a graduate of Park University in Missouri, was eager to volunteer to be a presenter.
“There are many young people who are looking for direction. There are so many choices. I want to give them a good choice and a good direction,” said Eames.
College Night is the culmination of months of planning by school and district leaders. Organizers sent letters to 1200 different colleges and universities during the summer, requesting the schools to send information for families to take home from the event. Recruiting volunteers was also a major undertaking.
“It’s a lot of work, but the payoff is that kids get the direct experience,” said Kubasaki High School guidance counselor David Young. “They don’t get that from a website or a brochure. Volunteers can tell students about the nuances that are not published—what the community is like, what the dorms are like, things to do in the area.”
That first-hand information came as a welcome surprise to Sydne Fletcher, a freshman at Kadena High school. She wants to attend Stanford University, and was able to speak directly with a volunteer who attended there.
“Getting her into this environment is important so she’ll start thinking about scholarships,” said Sydne’s mother, Laurie Fletcher.
“The experience starts here,” said Sydne’s father, Kelly Fletcher, a DoD civilian. “She can start preparing early on.”
Superintendent Michael Thompson would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped make College Night a success. “An event such as this helps bring our students into contact with many post -secondary opportunities. Many thanks to the organizers and volunteers who make such events possible," said Thompson.