December 13, 2013
When a flaming ball of toilet paper aimed for the commode flew out his bathroom window and ignited a pile of wood, Alex Cazares knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
“I’ve wanted to be a firefighter ever since I was in elementary school and my brother thought it would be cool to light stuff on fire,” Cazares said, laughing. “My mom says it’s too dangerous, but that’s OK.”
Now a senior at Bryan High School, Cazares and 140 other high school juniors and seniors filled the Barbara L. Pearson Banquet Room on the Blinn College – Bryan campus for the second annual College and Career Summit. Cazares will enroll in Blinn’s nationally-recognized Fire Science Program in Fall 2014.
Students from Bryan, Rudder, M.C. Harris, Allen Academy, Caldwell and North Zulch high schools rotated through six breakout sessions offering tips on study habits, healthy living, student activities and career planning.
“This event allows experts from Blinn College to speak with high school students about what college looks like,” said Jennifer Bynum, director of Prospective Student Relations. “We also want to give students the chance to learn about the wonderful programs and opportunities on our campus.”
Cazares, who will be the first person in his family to graduate high school and attend college, said the event was helpful in preparing him for life after high school.
“I learned that I need to work on my study habits. Studying the day of an exam isn’t going to cut it in college,” he said. “It was also nice to talk to advisors about the Fire Science Program to make sure that I’m on the right track.”
“Watch Ur BAC,”an intoxicated driving simulator presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, was a hit with students. Volunteers slipped on “fatal vision” goggles and struggled to navigate obstacles on a video game-style simulator demonstrating the effects of alcohol.
“It was really difficult to drive with those goggles on,” said Chelsea Martinez, a senior at Bryan High who plans to attend Blinn next Fall. “It was fun to participate, but it’s an eye-opener.”
Cody Harris, a senior at North Zulch High School, said the summit opened his eyes to the savings made possible attending a two-year college before transferring to a university.
“I hope more people from my high school come next year,” Harris said. “This was definitely beneficial.”
Bynum said she expects the event to continue growing as more high schools get involved.
“As a community college, this is our role. We are here to serve the community,” Bynum said. “It’s our responsibility to educate our juniors and seniors about opportunities for their future.”
Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006.Photos: