College fair an inspiration for all |

College fair an inspiration for all

Dear Editor:

Now that the buses are gone, with the 2,000-plus kids from all over the Western Slope (who would not have otherwise had the opportunity to explore their future – unless they could drive to Cherry Creek and pay the entrance fee) are back home, laden with college brochures and dreams of attending schools they had never heard of, and all of the college admissions officers are back on the plane, chatting excitedly about the diverse and wonderful kids they connected with, it’s time to raise a glass to the indomitable Kathy Klug and her team of (over 100) fiercely loyal volunteers who pull off this miracle every year.

My informal polling (which I have conducted every year since we began seven years ago) is in: The admissions officers unanimously opined that “Aspen’s college fair is the No. 1 fair in the country.” They maintained that it’s the “best organized, best run, most effective, most comprehensive, most enjoyable, and most rewarding” of the dozens and dozens they attend annually – and that back in their offices, they vie for who will get the nod to attend next year. In other words, if the Western Slope College Fair were a startup company, it would be Apple! People just want it!

Who benefits from all this? Our kids – all of the kids from the Western Slope. Buses arrived from six to seven hours away – from cities, from reservations, from small towns (I can assure you) these colleges have never heard of, all carrying bright-eyed, well-dressed, well-prepared students, eager to expand their horizons.

And expand them they did – like Plato’s cave-dwellers who are shown the night sky for the first time, these kids were transformed. Imagine the parents’ joy to hear her small-town Colorado ninth-grader (who had never been out of the state) emphatically stating, “I think NYU is a perfect fit for me” after talking to the charismatic admissions officer.

What is the value of igniting this sense of power and possibility in a child? As the commercial says, “Priceless.”

So 10,000 thanks to Kathy Klug, Susan Walter, Kelly Dougherty, and her tireless team (we know who we are), the sponsors, and everyone involved. It takes a village to raise a student (committed, ready to succeed, and given access to what the world of learning can offer) and our village came through, beyond measure!

Kevin Ward


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