Hundreds of families took advantage of the annual “Commerce to College Fair” held last Saturday in hopes of getting an early start on the college search and application process.
The event was sponsored by the City of Commerce Public Library and the city’s education committee, and included several bilingual workshops aimed at helping middle and high school students and their families explore the steps needed to gain college admission, including required academic courses, testing and the application process.
Fifteen-year-old April Alvarez told EGP the fair was “eye opening.” The Schurr High School sophomore is considering a career as a registered nurse and said she really appreciated the encouraging environment. “People are there, telling you how important education is, about working hard and striving for something,” she said.
Alvarez’s mother, Sally Rivas, a life-long Commerce resident, said the event is a great way to help students prepare for college and a career.
“No matter what we [as parents] say, its great to have someone else reiterate it,” Rivas told EGP.
She was glad to see some of the top-tier 4-year universities represented, but noted that there was something for everyone, even information on trade tech and community colleges.
Wiley Canjura is a senior at Schurr High in Montebello. She described the event as fun, and said many of her friends were also in attendance. The 16-year-old wants to be a high school teacher or pediatrician, and while there were not a lot of colleges with Child Development majors present, she said she learned about other great programs and careers. “It’s good to know your options,” she told EGP.
Following the fair, attendees and city representatives gathered at the Veteran’s Park baseball field for a closing ceremony and gift raffles. Mayor Joe Aguilar reminded those in attendance that the City of Commerce offers free homework assistance, even at the college level.
“Why is your college education so important to us? Because you are important to us,” he said.
Robert Cornejo, principal of Rosewood Park Elementary, threw out the first pitch during the ceremony and took a moment to reminisce about his youth growing up in Commerce.
“Back in the day, there was no Starbucks, no casino… and definitely no scholarships,” he said, referring to the Commerce scholarship program that awards thousands of dollars each year to dozens of the city’s young residents.
Councilmember Tina Baca Del Rio told EGP she estimates about 500 people attended the college fair, but there could have been more since people came and went at their leisure.
She said people from other cities also attend, since the college fair was open to the public and not just for city residents.