The Indy Schools High School Fair on April 9 at the Global Village Welcome Center was a major success. “An event like this is important for the youth in our city. It’s the first one of its kind. It gives students and families an opportunity to choose the high school they want to go to,” shared one parent attendee.
Over 200 community members came out for the event. Shannon Williams, The Mind Trust’s Executive Vice President, noted the importance of an event like this that showcases the full scope of what goes on at autonomous high schools around the city and elevates key community resources for families. “Oftentimes people think student success is only focused inside the schools. That’s a huge part of it,” she acknowledged. “But the community also plays a very important part in student success.”
Seventeen Indianapolis high schools and 20 community exhibitors were on-hand to connect with families, share resources, and get students enrolled. The day also featured two bilingual family workshops. The first of these, “Navigating to and Through College”, featured panelists from 21st Century Scholars, Indiana Latino Institute, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, and Christel House Indianapolis.
Panelist Luis Serrano, a career coach at Christel House Indianapolis, reminded parents that the best time to start planning for college is yesterday. “The earlier the better regarding college readiness,” Serrano said. “If we wait until our kids are juniors or seniors, it can be overwhelming. If we start the process in middle school, talking about options, we can explore what students would like and what options are out there for them.”
The second panel focused on “Summer Learning and Teen Work Opportunities.” Panelists represented Global Preparatory Academy, Indy Summer Learning Labs, Teen Works, the International Marketplace Coalition, Project Azul, and Marian University.
Elia Sanchez, an education advocate and grant consultant for the International Marketplace coalition emphasized her role as a parent. “I understand from the parent perspective, when the summertime comes you wonder what your kids are going to do, what are they going to be involved in. What better opportunity for kids than to continue with academic opportunities in the summer,” Sanchez shared. She pointed to Indy Summer Learning Labs as a premier option for families to access free or low-cost summer programming that combats learning loss.
Intermixed with the workshops were three student performances. BELIEVE | Circle City High School students performed a skit and spoken word poetry, a student from Rooted School Indianapolis gave a speech, and a student from Purdue Polytechnic High School shared about his journey through high school leading up to his impending graduation.
“It’s fantastic to be involved in a life-changing event like this,” noted Brandon Brown, CEO at The Mind Trust. “These seventeen schools will provide a high-quality education to countless kids in our community.”
Another parent in attendance testified to the wealth of options at the High School Fair. “They have a lot of opportunities here. I just want to give my kid a better chance,” they said.
On the topic of why having multiple quality school choices matters, a budding high schooler shared, “It’s important for me to choose because I want it to be a school that I will enjoy. A school where I am free to be me.”