East Hall High School hosts college resource fair for Latino students and families
Carrillo’s experience is not unique. According to Stan Lewis, director of community relations and athletics for Hall County Schools, 47% of students in the system are Hispanic; of that number, about a fifth are English learners, according to Superintendent Will Schofield.
On Tuesday, October 26, East Hall High School hosted its first-ever Latino College Night to provide information about college admissions and campus life to Spanish-speaking and bilingual families – an event that East Hall Counselor McKenzie Cagle has wanted to see since arriving at school two years ago.
Cagle said she wanted to make information about financial aid and scholarship programs accessible to Hispanic families.
“Whether it was a migrant worker family or the first generation or undocumented or whatever, making it more accessible was sort of the goal at the end of the day,” Cagle said.
Working with Councilor Kim Brown and Parent Liaison Diego Rico, they were able to organize a college fair night for all Hall high school students and their parents based on the needs they saw.
“The questions are different for immigrant parents,” Rico said. “Sometimes they say to me, ‘I don’t have social security’ and those kinds of questions. That’s why we bring in these college representatives – that way they can answer these questions. “
The university admission process may also be different for undocumented students; depending on their status, they cannot receive federal financial aid and loans, and many have to rely on private scholarships to help pay for their education.
Around the school cafeteria, 12 representatives from colleges and universities – each bilingual or employing the help of a translator – set up tables to provide information on majors, financial aid, campus life and scholarship opportunities specifically for Hispanic students. These include North Georgia University, Lanier Technical College, Brenau University, Georgia State University, Valdosta State University, Dalton State College, from Kennesaw State University, Piedmont College, Mercer University, Reinhardt University and Georgia Gwinnett College.