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SRHS College and Career Center encourages students to Plan for College

Student Ava Chiago, eighth grade, holds up two cookies with “ASU” and “GCU” on them during the SRHS College and Career Center open house. Submitted photo by Salt River Schools

Five Salt River High School students have already made commitments to Arizona State University, the University of Northern Arizona, the University of Arizona, Grand Canyon University and Avalon School of Cosmetology.

“We’re really excited about the possibilities of the new College and Career Center. We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Rebeca Ronstadt-Contreras, Salt River higher education administrator. “It’s unique because we can partner with the school and do additional programming that directly impacts students. They can come in and we can help them navigate the often tricky and confusing process of deciding what to do after graduating from high school.”

The new College and Career Center is located near the SRHS counselor’s office. The center was recently transformed into a space that students can utilize. It has two computers, a table, a desk, information packets and pennants of more than 20 colleges and universities that SRHS has collaborated with.

Thanks to the SRHS first-ever College and Career Center, students from seventh through 12th grades can receive assistance and services from Higher Education staff and school counselors. Students and staff work as a team to help students to get all necessary paperwork done, fees paid, applications sent off and prerequisites met, so eventually they will be accepted to an institution of higher learning and obtain a postsecondary degree.

“Figuring out life after high school is overwhelming. The task of simply filling out forms with your information can be daunting and cumbersome. Our computers are situated side-by-side, because it helps to have someone sitting right next to you who knows where to find the information you need and can answer your questions in real-time,” said Ronstadt-Contreras.

SRHS College and Career Center staff (l-r) Salt River higher education administrator Rebeca Ronstadt-Contreras, SRHS counselor Tammy Newell and SRHS counselor Nola Johnson.
Services include filling out the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application; filling out college applications and meeting deadlines; searching for scholarships and finding money for fees, tuition and books; checking out technical school options; and more. A checklist is provided to students and their parents for guidance.

This year, SRHS has 32 seniors. The goal is to get these students to consider postsecondary education, helping with technical schools or providing guidance.

“College isn’t for everyone. Not everyone wants to go to college, but if we can help the students figure what to do before they graduate from high school, that helps them and us. We’re here to provide guidance for all of our students,” said SRHS school counselor Nola Johnson.

“The College and Career Center was needed because there’s sometimes a disconnect between the [SRPMIC] Higher Education department and students at the sites it serves, including SRHS, the Accelerated Learning Academy and Mesa Public Schools. Currently, the Higher Education department offers a monthly speaker session at SRHS, in addition to other planned activities throughout the year,” said Ronstadt-Contreras.

For more information about the new SRHS College and Career Center, visit www.srpmic-ed.org or call SRHS at (480) 362-2000.