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Chesapeake College Launches Outreach to Underserved Students

Kick-off Event Involved CTE students from four Mid-Shore county school systems

Friday, September 14, 2012

CENTREVILLE – Like many high school students, Queen Anne’s County High senior Samantha Morris has big plans for her future. She’s mapped out an educational path that will take her through higher education and to her dream career.

Unlike many of her college-bound classmates, Morris is studying cosmetology through Queen Anne’s County High School’s Career and Technology Education (CTE) Program.

"College is definitely part of my future, and I think people in CTE should start seeing higher education as part of their career training," said Morris, one of more than 200 CTE students from Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Kent and Talbot counties who attended a Chesapeake College outreach event Thursday at Queen Anne’s County High.

Dr. Theresa Stafford, supervisor of college and career readiness for Caroline County Public Schools, said all CTE students should see themselves as future college students.

"I tell my students that we are not training them to work for someone else. We’re training them to work for themselves," said Dr. Stafford. "We want them to run their own businesses and have better opportunities."

Dr. Stafford told the students, "You are getting a quality education now and post-secondary education is for you, too. That doesn’t always mean a four-year degree, but you should pursue more education after high school."

That was also the message Chesapeake College officials brought to the assembled students, many of whom are eligible to earn college credit at Chesapeake for some of their high school CTE courses through articulated credit programs.

"We are so excited about this opportunity to reach out to career and technology education students who may want to further their education after high school," said Kathy Petrichenko, Chesapeake’s dean for recruitment services. "The students here today need to know that there are opportunities available to them at their community college."

Morris plans to attend Chesapeake College next year, where she hopes to take as many chemistry courses as possible while she earns an associate’s degree in Business Administration. She then plans to continue with cosmetology training and work toward a bachelor’s degree with the eventual goal of owning a beauty salon and developing her own high-end product line.

Dr. Stafford challenged all CTE students to do that type of career planning. She drove that point home by asking all the automotive technology students to stand, with more than 40 rising from their chairs.

"You will all be competing for the same few jobs," she said. "Post-secondary education will give you a leg up on the competition."

Megan Carpenter of Sudlersville, another cosmetology student at QACHS, attended the event to learn more about college opportunities. Carpenter says that she is not taking any chances with her future.

"In this economy you need to do anything you can to better yourself. I think everyone needs career skills and education beyond high school," Carpenter said. "You need to be ready for any opportunities that come your way in the future. Why just stop at high school?"

Carpenter said that graduating from high school and earning her cosmetology license are only the first steps in her future. An aspiring forensic scientist, Carpenter said she plans to enlist in the Air Force after high school and then later attend college on the GI Bill.

The event, made possible in part by Queen Anne’s County Public Schools CTE funding for bus transportation, was part of a renewed collaboration between Chesapeake College and local school systems to encourage CTE students to consider post-secondary education.

"Students at Chesapeake have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to programs of study," said Petrichenko. "We can help students identify their career path based on personal goals."

Students were encouraged to contact Chesapeake’s Office of Admissions (410-822-5400, ext. 2257 or www.admissions@chesapeake.edu) for more information.

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