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DHS College Fair attracts record crowds

“Every year, I think our college fair can’t get any better, but it just continues to grow by leaps and bounds, for the benefit of all our students and families. It’s why we’re all here…to educate and guide our students to successful and rewarding futures.”

Those were the words of DHS Lead Counselor Carrie Boettger following the 2019 DHS College Fair that attracted hundreds of students and parents to the school’s gymnasium on September 17. The goal: to help families learn as much as possible about present-day college life from dozens of experts representing more than 60 universities and institutions from across the state and nation.

“Just this year, Denison ranked among the top five high schools in the nation with the highest graduation rates,” said Boettger. “We’re very proud of that, and we welcome the growth it fosters.”

The representatives in attendance came from major universities as well as junior colleges, military institutions, community colleges and career-tech schools, offering vital information on subjects ranging from degree plans, specialty training and housing options – to scholarships, financial aid and student loans.

“We try to host our College Fair as early as possible because advance planning is crucial to a successful college experience,” said Boettger. “It allows our parents and students ample time to determine which colleges or institutions best meet their needs, with plenty of time remaining to meet enrollment timelines,” said Boettger. “Just this year, the Denison-Sherman area ranked in the top five high schools in the nation with the best graduation rates. The information gathered at these events helps point parents and students in the right direction. It gives them an overview of what’s out there and allows them to move forward and narrow down the list of possibilities according to their interests and budget.”

In addition to the usual crowds at major university booths, a lot of students also sought information from community and junior colleges at this year’s fair. “Definitely, a lot of students are considering Grayson and other community colleges where they can get two years of college under their belts while living at home and possibly working some as well,” said Boettger. “We’re also seeing kids do a lot of intense research regarding scholarships to colleges like Texas A&M and UT, Abilene Christian University, UNT, Austin College, OSU, the various military academies and many others. They’re looking at fields of interest as well as budgets, and finding ways to meet those budget guidelines.”

Boettger says the school tries each year to improve and expand the services they offer to college-bound students. “More DHS students are taking AP and Dual Credit courses every year, which allows them to gain a lot of college credits at little or no cost. Additionally, more students are taking the ACT and SAT exams every year, and doing very well on them. Our scores remain above state averages, yet another indication that a high level of learning is happening in our classrooms. Our goal is to provide these students and families with the information they need to plan for successful futures.”

Representatives from 58 colleges, universities and military branches greeted and answered questions for the more than 1,000 students that attended September’s annual College Fair at Denison High School. “It’s such an amazing opportunity for our students to see the possibilities that are out there for them regarding their educational opportunities after high school,” DHS lead counselor Carrie Boettger said.

DHS counselors organize and orchestrate one of the county’s largest and most successful College Fairs every year, designed specifically to help students decide which college best suits their academic and personal needs.

Denison High School’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program director Aaron Bach said, “Our program strives to include students of diverse cultures, languages, and backgrounds. AVID helps teachers relate to all students and shift teaching from delivering content to facilitating learning. This is the core of our approach to closing the opportunity gap.”

Cell phones and bar codes created an easy and instant connection for accessing and sharing information between DHS college-bound students and college representative making this year’s college fair one of Denison High School’s most successful ever.

While the event is named the Denison High School College Fair, several branches of the United States military set up booths to talk to students. Recruiters provided interested students with information about the financial benefits and educational resources available to service men and women.

Denison High School upperclassmen attended the annual College Fair where they took the opportunity to explore options regarding which college or post-high school option might best suit their needs. College representatives set up their booths in the DHS gym and handed out brochures, pennants and many school spirit items to students wanting to know about their university.

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