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Thousands of Inland Empire Students Explore Academic Options during Inaugural Regional College Fair

Summit High School juniors Veronica Ybarra, Miracle Coleman and senior Yazmen Curtis were greatly impressed by the range of c

FONTANA, CA – Thousands of Inland Empire students and their parents spoke with college recruiters, filled out college applications and explored career options during the inaugural Inland Empire Regional College Fair, held Sept. 25 at the Ontario Convention Center.

The Regional College Fair is a collaborative initiative between the Fontana Unified, Rialto Unified and Chaffey Joint Union High school districts and the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, which pooled resources to provide families a diverse and comprehensive experience. The event featured representatives from more than 70 universities, technical colleges and the U.S. Armed Forces, including, eight Cal State University campuses, nine UC schools and colleges from as far away as Alaska and England.

“We are thrilled at the extraordinary response to the regional fair; It has exceeded all of our expectations,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “Working together, Fontana, Rialto and Chaffey Joint Union are helping families along the path to realizing their dreams of higher education. Many thanks to our education partners and all of our participating schools and their representatives.”

The Kaiser High School Catamount Pride Band and Color Guard greeted students eager to talk to recruiters. The magnitude of the fair allowed students to focus on criteria that is important to them, whether academic, extracurricular or aesthetic.

“I want to go to a college with lots of school spirit,” A.B. Miller High senior Aaron Ruiz said. “We have so much spirit here at Miller and that’s what I want to see in a university. I’m looking at a wide range of colleges, with an eye on those with strong communications and digital media programs.”

Summit High School senior Yazmen Curtis and junior Miracle Coleman were greatly impressed with the range of collegiate resources at hand as they collected brochures and searched for a school that will provide the best fit them.

“I’m learning more about what I can do and looking at schools that have expansive programs in criminal justice, which I want to study,” Coleman said. “I also like to dance, so wherever I go will need to have strong elective classes and extracurricular activities as well.”

The fair was not limited to high school students. A large number of Fontana middle and elementary school students attended, accompanied by their teachers and counselors.

“When I was 5 years old my mom said to me, ‘You’re going to go to college,’ and from that moment forward I knew attending college was my destiny,” Fontana Unified elementary school counselor Debbie Dee said. “It’s so important for kids to know at an early age that going to college is achievable.”