The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal


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A Look into the Future

Chaug’s Annual College Fair to help students consider further education choices.

Late Monday afternoon on October 23, school staff cleared out the school gymnasium to prepare for Minnechaug Regional High School’s annual College Fair.

Keith Poulin, the head of Minnechaug’s guidance department, said that once a year, a large handful of institutes circulate through ‘Chaug and 12 other high schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, allowing for junior and senior students to take a deeper look into what colleges they may want to attend.

Showcasing what they had to offer, around 95 colleges participated in this event. However, some students were concerned about the lack of diversity in the colleges. Savanna Baldwin and Makyla Acevedo, both seniors, said they wanted to see more inclusivity.

Savanna Baldwin and Makyla Acevedo speaking to Chris Miner of Clarkson University.

“I’m looking for HBCUs,” Baldwin said. HBCUs are Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She wants to become a grief counselor, therapist, and social worker. The lack of diverse colleges at the fair concerned her. “They don’t offer any HBCUs here. I wanted to be able to walk around and see them.”

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Poulin agreed. “I wish we had some representation from HBCUs,” he said.

Although ‘Chaug does not limit the colleges that can attend the fair, Poulin said “there are no HBCUs in New England,” and perhaps that’s why they choose not to attend.

However, Poulin said students did reach out to him about these concerns, and that guidance is planning on having a table with information on such schools next year.

“We have received that message and we have made it a priority to increase our resources to provide more information about HBCUs to students who may be interested.”

Even though the school needs to work on having more inclusivity, there were many schools in attendance. Arranged in a horseshow of tables, college admissions counselors handed out pamphlets, stickers, business cards, and other merchandise as students browsed schools from New England and the surrounding regions. 

“We are a college for educational business and liberal arts,” said Trevison Clark, an admissions counselor for Thomas College in Maine. “We also work with job placement. We can guarantee that students will have a job within six months after graduation.”

Thomas College is looking for students who want to be a part of the community and participate in extracurriculars and school clubs.

“People who are involved do better in college,” Clark said.

Chris Miner of Clarkson University was smiling as students walked by, seeming excited to help. Being a STEM-based private research institution located in New York, his school is looking for “inquisitive minds,” said Miner. “We want students who ask the questions they don’t have the answers to.”

Throughout the fair, a crowd of students surrounded Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS).

“We’re looking at how involved students are in and out of school,” said Grace Higgins, an admissions counselor for the college.

Unlike other colleges, ACPHS looks intently at its future students’ GPA. However, the school also took into account the student’s volunteering hours, their well-roundedness, and strength in the classroom.

Sergeant Jacob S. Jansen, a local Army recruiter from West Springfield, was at the event to help students “build a career inside or out of the army,” he said. 

Standing in line to talk to him was senior Alexander Bernat.

“This is something I’m interested in,” Bernat said. “I might want to do something in the special forces.”

Alexander Bernat speaking to Sergeant Jacob S. Jansen of the U.S. Army.

Around the corner from Bernat were seniors Savanna Baldwin and Makyla Acevedo, who were looking into different types of careers. “I want to learn about the criminal’s mind, figure out why they do what they do,” Acevedo said. “I’m trying to go to a college for forensic psychology, criminal psychology, and or therapy.”

She wasn’t alone. Many students had to consider the future they wanted to pursue at this year’s college fair.

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