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ASU partners with local high school to bring college-, career-readiness info to juniors

December 12, 2023

Making the leap from underclassman to upperclassman in high school can be a big relief — until you realize it’s time to start planning for college.

Last Friday, in collaboration with Arizona State University, Cesar Chavez High School (CCHS) in Phoenix hosted a transformative career exploration event aimed specifically at juniors. The customized experience sought to inspire, guide and get students thinking about their journey toward higher education and future careers — before senioritis sets in.

“As counselors, our major focus — especially (for students taking) the postsecondary college route — is our seniors,” said Adriana Toles, one of CCHS’ student counselors. “We have a lot of different senior events where our college ambassadors will come and provide that support. For juniors, we don't really have that, so it's really exciting to see that they are getting that information earlier on and not waiting until senior year.”

Students walking around a gymnasium with tables with ASU signs.
Cesar Chavez High School juniors congregate in their gymnasium where a vast array of ASU tables and representatives greet them. Photo by Jr De Chavez

After six years working at CCHS, Toles has seen the power that combining college and career-readiness information with an ASU presence on campus can have on students to reinforce the idea that pursuing your dream is possible.

“So many of our kids get stuck in, ‘Right now, I have to do this,’ but they're not thinking (about the) future, or they're thinking, ‘I have a whole year to do that. I don't need to do that right now.’ But those deadlines come up quick,” Toles said. “It's important that they know the information, that they're exposed to the information, and that they know that (college) is possible.”

Friday’s event offered tailored workshops and presentations, interactive information sessions and tabling that featured various ASU schools and departments. Topics covered ranged from completing applications to resume building, financial aid/responsibility and more.

“Some students are unsure about what they want to do with their future, and they're thinking, ‘Well, I'll just work,’ and they're not really sure what they want to do or how they're going to do it,” said Alexander Ewell, a CCHS junior. “And I think events like these can really help those students, and even those that do have goals but don't know how to achieve those quite yet.”

Two high school students stand in front of a building with the words "Cesar Chavez Champions."
Cesar Chavez High School students Nahin Kajn (left) and Alexander Ewell speak on their experience with the career event as well as their aspirations for their career and future. Photo by Jr De Chavez

Ewell has his sights set on pursuing biomedical engineering. He said the information he attained through the money management, interviewing and resume-building sessions is beneficial for all students — himself included.

Nahin Kajn, another CCHS junior, is looking forward to becoming the first in his family to go to college and is set on pursuing a career in engineering. He echoed Ewell’s sentiments in regard to the day’s event.

“I think our school should hold these types of events more often as it just opens the eyes of the students,” Kajn said. “I think this event is great, especially for many of the students on our campus who are underprivileged and can't get those resources easily. And having those resources instead come to them, it's just an amazing opportunity.”

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