Ritter to attend Western Slope college fair
September 24, 2008
ASPEN ” Gov. Bill Ritter and State Sen. Gail Schwartz are scheduled to attend the fourth annual Colorado Western Slope College Fair, to be held at Aspen High School on Sunday.
The two representatives from the Colorado government are slated to speak at 11:45 a.m. in the Skier Dome, where the Colorado colleges and universities will be grouped.
The college fair, billed as the largest of its kind on the Western Slope, will feature representatives from 180 colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Students from an estimated 60 high schools in Colorado are invited, and organizers expect at least 1,500 students from throughout the Western Slope to show up.
This year’s fair will feature Alejandra Rincon, author of a forthcoming book titled “Undocumented Immigrants and Higher Education: Si se puede!” Rincon will speak on the topic of applying to college as a Latino and explain ways that even undocumented immigrants can qualify for in-state tuition and scholarships.
Workshops also will be held on topics that include applying to highly selective colleges, being a college-bound student athlete, applying for scholarships and applying for financial aid.
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According to Aspen High School counselor Kathy Klug, the fair started five years ago when she and several other community members began to feel there was a need to introduce Western Slope students more concretely to some of the 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States.
“I saw exceptional kids not engaged in possibility-thinking,” she said.
Today, the college fair is organized each year by Klug and the Colorado Western Slope College Fair Committee, a group of approximately 40 volunteers.
“I have attorneys … and doctors … who come and gives their time because they think this event engages our kids in great, great possibility-thinking. We’re all kind of dreamers,” said Klug.
The fair aims to provide kids with the possibilities so that they can choose who they want to become, said Klug.
“When you just look in your backyard, you may think those are the only places,” she said.
“Everybody makes a more informed choice once they’ve got the info at hand,” agreed Sandra Peirce, one of the fair organizers.
The cost of putting on the college fair runs to $25,000, $5,000 of which is underwritten by EnCana, $5,000 of which is composed of donor-directed funds from the Aspen Community Foundation and $10,000 of which comes from Alpine Bank.
The rest is given by private donors, especially those sensitive to the needs of first-generation students, according to Klug.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Parking is available at Buttermilk Ski Area, located on Highway 82, just east of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Free school bus shuttles will run between Buttermilk parking lot and Aspen High School every 10 minutes.