College of the Canyons representative Eva Alonzo-Ayon, right, hands out information on attending COC to Cristina (cq) Padron, left, and Jacon Zepeda, 16, during the annual College and Career Fair held at West Ranch High School on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 Dan Watson/The Signal

Thousands attend annual Hart District College and Career Fair

Banners and mascots of every color and creed decorated the walls of West Ranch High School during the William S. Hart Union High School District’s annual College and Career Fair on Tuesday.

The point behind the annual Hart District fair, in addition to exposure to about 100 colleges and postsecondary institutions, including trade schools and the military, two speakers sought to spur students toward thinking about their own various degree- and certification-related paths and how they’re possible, according to the district’s leader for career technical education.

Dr. Kevin Fleming speaks about education and success in the new economy to students and parents during the annual College and Career Fair held at West Ranch High School on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 Dan Watson/The Signal

“I hope that the conversations students are having are not about, ‘I want to go to this college because of this football team,’ or ‘because my parents went there,’” said Mariane Doyle, director of career technical and adult education for the district. “I hope that they’re more driven around, ‘I know what I want my future to look like, there’s a lifestyle that I want, and to have that lifestyle I’m pursuing this particular passion or career field that I believe will facilitate that lifestyle.’”

“The way one plans for post-secondary education is by starting early,” said Doyle. “We know from research that students make decisions on their post-secondary education and their career choices quite early and so the better prepared, the more information they have, the better armed they are with what they need to transition successfully.”

Some students in attendance, such as West Ranch junior Rachael Delgado, said they already know what they want to do, but didn’t know about the options available. And then there were some, such as Noah Greenwald, a West Ranch sophomore who doesn’t know what he wants to do for a career, but said the event was helpful.

Hundreds of attendees pick up career information during the annual College and Career Fair held at West Ranch High School on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 Dan Watson/The Signal

“I feel that he needs to start the process early in order to know how to navigate high school and get in,” said Noah’s mother, Laura.

And for Doyle, the information given during the event is what it’s all about for the approximately 3,000 people in attendance.

“It’s really about giving yourself as much of an informational basis to move forward with what you’re going to do once you leave us,” Doyle said. “At the end of the day, there are very few people that don’t have to get a job, and so why not get that job that you actually want and doing something that you’re really prepared to do.”

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