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College and Career Fair Inspires Success at Maryvale Prep

Maryvale Prep February 22, 2024 -

Maryvale Prep hosted their first annual MVP College and Career Fair, designed for grades 9-12. This inaugural event was the brainchild and spearheaded by Humane Letters teacher Katie Gittins, Ancient & Medieval History teacher Sarah O’Dowd, college counselor Georgy Ayala, and Dean of Academics Anaïs Wolpert. They had the vision of revamping the traditional Academic Field Day and providing the student body with a long-sought after opportunity for post-high-school exploration and edification.

Maryvale students with swag at the College and Career Fair

“Having planned the Academic Field Day for two years, it felt like it was time to think about something that would be more beneficial to our high schoolers in particular,” explained O’Dowd. “Career Day was something that I’d enjoyed as a student, and an event that had me thinking about careers outside the ordinary. With so many of our students being the first in their families to attend university, it felt like a natural addition to combine this with a college fair.”

Maryvale student at the College and Career Fair

Approximately 150 students completed a career aptitude test in the morning and then assembled in the academy’s auditorium, the Marley Center, for an introduction to the day and a keynote speech from Councilwoman Betty Guardado.

Maryvale students at booths at the College and Career Fair

They were then released to the fair, located in the gym, to explore the tables where representatives from colleges and career paths alike shared information about their respective fields. In all, students had the opportunity to speak with a total of 31 representatives and community partners that included:

  • S. Air Force
  • Arizona Christian University
  • Arizona State University
  • Benedictine University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Glendale Community College
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Mississippi State University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Ottawa University
  • Phoenix College
  • Pima Medical Institute
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Arizona
  • A. Franke Honors College – University of Arizona
  • Architect – Tim O’Dowd
  • Attorney at Law – Jessica S. Sanchez
  • Certified Public Accountant – Robert Wolpert
  • City of Glendale
  • City of Phoenix Parks and Rec
  • Computer Programmer, Software Engineer, Chief Technology Officer
  • Cosmetologist
  • District 5 (Maryvale) Councilwoman Betty Guardado & Staff
  • Friendly House – Mentorship programs & scholarship opportunities
  • HVAC Professional
  • Iron Worker’s Union
  • Marketing, public relations, media – Kathryn Lipke from Evolve
  • Mortgage broker, female business owner – Colleen Cutler
  • Phoenix Fire Department Recruitment
  • Phoenix Police Department – Officer James Rodriguez
  • Real Estate Broker

Maryvale students at booths at the College and Career Fair

“Students were invigorated and challenged by the new experience of speaking with professionals and taking first ownership of their college and career ambitions. I loved hearing students interact, at first shyly but soon enthusiastically, with successful men and women who gave insight into their educational and professional trajectories,” Ayala said.

The event concluded back in the Marley Center for the annual Senior vs Teacher Jeopardy Competition. At the end of the round, it was tied with nine points each with one question left. The seniors were first to buzz in for the question, “Architect/Engineer Gustave Eiffel created both the Eiffel Tower in Paris and also contributed to what U.S. monument?” Senior Julian Vera correctly answered, “The Statue of Liberty.” The crowd went wild.

Maryvale student in full fire fighter gear at the College and Career Fair

“It was a phenomenal turn-out for our first-ever College and Career Fair from the community who supports us, from university partnerships to business owners, and leaders around the Valley,” said Wolpert. “Next year, we look forward to connecting with more schools and professionals, expanding the size and timeframe of the fair, and empowering our students to investigate their aptitudes and goals even further. As our student body grows, we want to provide more opportunities for networking, community service, and leadership in the school and the community.”

Maryvale student with swag at the College and Career Fair

In the journey from high school to higher education and the workforce, students encounter many challenges. Access to resources, information, and opportunities like these can stand out as beacons of hope and opportunity for all students.

Gittins, another organizer of the event, said she was excited to continue this new tradition. “And we are always looking for ways to expose our students to new ideas and opportunities about what their future could look like.”

Maryvale students with swag at the College and Career Fair

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