Electeds host college fair at South Shore Educational Campus


Hundreds of Brooklyn high school students attended a college fair Saturday at the South Shore Educational Campus, the first of its kind sponsored by local elected leaders in partnership with the high schools co-located at the South Shore Educational Campus.

More than 80 colleges were represented at the fair, including all 64 SUNY colleges and all 18 CUNY colleges and a host of private and community colleges. The South Shore Educational Campus is home to Uncommon Preparatory Charter High School, Brooklyn Generation School, Victory Collegiate High School, Ace High School, and Brooklyn Theater Arts High School.

State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City), the driving force behind the fair, said she hoped it would provide an opportunity for high school students within her legislative district to obtain relevant information and resources they need to succeed.

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud greets students as she held her first annual district college fair held at South Shore Educational Campus. 

“Our students deserve every opportunity to obtain a college degree so that they can reach their full potential. For some students especially those in certain ethnic populations and lower socioeconomic status, access to a tertiary education is extremely limited,” Persaud said. “I am proud to offer this type of intervention in the 19th senatorial district because the research has proven that college preparation is a key factor in determining whether a student attends college.”

Assemblywoman Jaime Williams (D- Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach), who also sponsored the fair, said it provides an opportunity for students to interact with representatives of the colleges they are considering attending.

Assemblywoman Jaime Williams
City Councilman Alan Maisel

“The importance of attending a college fair cannot be overstated,” Williams said. “It is a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of the institution in which you plan on expanding your education at, and to experience the next stages of your journey within adulthood. The investment and time made at college and other institutions of higher learning is one that should not be made with a view of a website or via word of mouth; but true interaction with representatives of the schools that you are planning on attending.”

City Councilman Alan Maisel (D-Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach) said he was happy to sponsor the fair along with Sen. Persuad and Assemblywoman Williams.

“As an educator I value the importance of a college education, and in today’s demanding world, a college education is more and more essential,” said Maisel, a retired assistant principal and former teacher. “That’s why this College Fair is so important, because early preparation is the key to success.”

For Uncommon Schools, which operates 23 schools in Brooklyn serving 8,000 students, the decision to help organize the fair was a no-brainer. One of Uncommon Schools’ four high schools, Uncommon Preparatory Charter High School, is located in Persaud’s 19th Senate District.

Uncommon Schools, which serves predominantly black and Latino children, focuses on college and career readiness. Every year, 100 percent of its graduating students are accepted to college and each of its high schools holds a signing ceremony, where students announce which college they are attending before a large, cheering crowd consisting of parents, family, friends and lower classmen.

Raechelle Richardson, a junior at Uncommon Prep, said the college fair was a convenient way for her to learn about all her options for college.

“Growing up, I never really had a chance to know what colleges were out there,” she said. “This gives me an opportunity to know what colleges have to offer me and lets them see what I have to offer to them.”

Brendan Campbell, the co-leader of Uncommon Prep Charter High School, said it was important for all interested high school students – not just those who attend Uncommon Schools – to attend the college fair.

Campbell said Uncommon Schools is committed to working in collaboration with New York City Department of Education, whether it be on joint professional development with district teachers or providing an opportunity for district high school students to attend a college fair.

“As members of this community, we feel it is important to share these opportunities with all students, not just our own,” Campbell said. “We’re thrilled so many colleges came to this part of Brooklyn to meet so many wonderful and talented students. We hope every student finds a place where they can continue their education.”

Other resources available at Saturday’s fair were a federal student aid outreach team to help parents and prospective students apply for federal aid, grants, and scholarships, job corps, youth summer camp registrations and summer camp scholarships.

Uncommon Charter High School and Achievement First, another charter network in Brooklyn, are hosting a college fair on Wednesday, April 18 at their shared campus on Pacific Avenue. Students from all four Uncommon Schools high schools in Brooklyn as well as both Achievement First high schools in Brooklyn are invited to attend.

The fair will attract more than 65 public and private schools from across the country, including SUNY and CUNY schools as well as private colleges, and two Ivy League schools, Brown and Columbia.