--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---
By HILA YOSAFI The Tattoo A low turnout at the annual College and Career Fair held at Bristol Eastern High School last week disappointed recruiters and coordinators. "We were expecting more students," said Mercellus Miglioranzi, a recruiter from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. The fair, which featured about 150 booths in the gymnasium and cafeteria, included mostly New England and New York schools, the armed services, and work programs, was open to anyone. "I would have liked to see more people but the ones that came here got a lot of information that they wouldn't have otherwise gotten," said Larry Hochman, chairperson of Eastern's guidance department and coordinator of the event. Hochman estimates about 250 families took advantage of the free fair. Tom Clark, a senior at Eastern who is looking for a good business school said, "I think it's useful giving students an idea of what colleges have to offer without us having to travel very far." Eastern junior Lisa Cote, who filled out a few information cards while she took a break from concert choir said the fair was informative and "you get to see all these colleges you've never heard of." Susan Martin, mother of Eastern senior Brandon Martin, said, "I expected more colleges to be here." Lewis Mills junior Kristen Watson said, "Maybe they should have a broader spectrum from schools around the country." However, Hochman said, "this is the biggest number of colleges we've ever had." The recruiter at the Southern Connecticut State University booth, Paula Kennedy, didn't understand why so few people stopped by her booth. She said, "I would have thought that being a state school not too far away it would have been busier." Students who don't think college is for them could also benefit from the fair. Jeffrey Parks, a representative from Hartford's AmeriCorps, a program where members get a living allowance for tutoring Hartford students and receive money to further their education or for job training, said the turnout "wasn't as significant as I'd hoped it would be." Northeast eighth grader Matt Nadeau said, "My only fear is the Army will try to suck me in." Recruiter Michael Dezi at the Connecticut Army National Guard booth said that through the military you could attend college tuition free. John DeFelippi, a parent of an Eastern senior, said his biggest fear about college is paying for it for the rest of his life. Miglioranzi said he sees a lot more students at the fairs he participates in at other high schools. He said that since it's only held once a year here "it should be a warning sign to seniors." But Hochman said there is no need to hold the fair more than once a year. Aida Silva, a senior admissions officer at the University of Connecticut, said students "should start as early as they begin middle school" to prepare for college by taking classes such as algebra and a foreign language. Hochman said students should also start looking at colleges long before their senior year deadlines. "There's no such thing as too early," Hochman said. There is, he said, a thing as too late. Tattoo writer Chantelle Garzone contributed to this story.