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Ninth Graders Experience College Firsthand

Mar. 24, 2017
students with mascot
DPS ninth graders attend the College Expo at Auraria Campus Friday.

Students spend day of college exploration on Denver’s Auraria Campus

The Auraria Campus in downtown Denver was a hive of activity on the morning of Friday, March 24 as swarms of DPS ninth graders explored future college and career opportunities as they toured the campus’ two colleges and one university. Denver Public Schools  hosted its seventh annual Ninth-Grade College Expo Friday morning to better prepare students for success after graduation.

Designed to expose students to college at a younger age, the expo offered an exciting day of college exploration highlighting resources and lessons learned from DPS graduates who’ve gone on to college. Nearly 2,000 ninth graders from over 30 DPS high schools interacted with faculty, staff and students, and got to experience life at three institutions of higher education, Metropolitan State College of Denver, University of Colorado Denver and Community College of Denver, through various tours, student panels, resource fairs and other activities throughout the day.

One of the five goals in the Denver Plan 2020, DPS’ five-year strategic plan, is to ensure students graduate high school ready for college and career. The expo gives ninth graders a glimpse into the possibility of college and allowed them to hear from college students from a variety of backgrounds.

“I decided to start my college career at a community college as a way to save money and get settled into college life,” Marie Nihokubwayo, a senior at Community College of Denver, shared with North High School ninth graders. “This campus has been truly amazing because there are so many different programs offered here.”

High school students took advantage of a variety of resources and broke out into groups to cycle through the activities. For students from North High School, the day started with a student panel, led by Ana Ibañez, Abraham Sanchez, Marie Nihokubwayo, Marrika Dixon and Hugh Fuller, students currently attending one of the three colleges located on the Auraria Campus. The ninth graders listened intently to the motivation and advice shared by students who were not much older than them.

As the day progressed, students toured campus buildings, learned about college clubs, scholarships and application assistance at the resource fair, and listened to a session titled “College 101,” an interactive workshop highlighting integral college and career opportunities for students. The expo supported the development of students’ Individual Career and Academic Plan, the personalized career and academic planning tool evaluating all aspects of a student’s path to college and career, as they explored possibilities and made connections between coursework to their future college and career aspirations.