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College and career fair aimed at minorities

February 24, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Lynne Gober attended two historically black universities - Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va., and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

"It's a different atmosphere," Gober said. "The reason why the school was born was to be the support - to provide that small family atmosphere for African-Americans."

Representatives of historically black colleges and universities were invited to attend a minority college and career fair Friday at Martinsburg Mall. Representatives from other regional schools also were invited.

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An evening session, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., is open to students and parents from the Tri-State area.

During the day, students from high schools in Berkeley and Jefferson counties will be bused to the event. More than 200 students have signed up to attend the second annual fair, said Gober, diversity facilitator for Berkeley County Schools.

Tenth- and 11th-graders and their parents are especially targeted, she said. Parents might think their high school student understands and can handle the college application process, but Gober said she believes parents should - and need to - be involved.

"Parents can know what's out there" after visiting the fair, she said.

Four-year schools that will be represented, either in person or with submitted materials, are Mary Baldwin College, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Wilson College, West Virginia University, Harvard University, Temple University, Towson University, Old Dominion University, Shepherd University and 25 others.

Representatives from two-year career schools also will be present. Hagerstown Business College, AccuTech Career Institute, Hagerstown Community College and two beauty schools will be represented.

A representative from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Army and West Virginia Air National Guard will attend, as will representatives from a few local businesses and an official from the state treasurer's office, who will discuss saving for college.

"We're hoping to meet everybody's needs," Gober said.

Gober said she hopes the fair encourages students and their parents to begin preparing for life after high school and raises awareness of available opportunities.

"A lot of this is really awareness, awareness, awareness. And preparation," Gober said. "We are taking them to the mountain."

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