The APS Foundation is thrilled to open two new College and Career Centers this school year! The centers are located at William Smith High School and Aurora West College Preparatory Academy.
Students who attend APS Avenues, the district’s alternative high school, are also able to utilize these centers. This means that 100% of APS’ high school students now have access to these critical supports. The Foundation recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new center at William Smith.
College and Career Centers focus on preparing students for success after high school by helping them explore a multitude of college, career and military options. Joshua Wurtz, a senior at William Smith, said he’s looking forward to spending more time at the center. “Throughout my first couple years [of high school], I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do. And it’s just comforting to know that I can come to somebody with whatever I need to help set me on the right path,” he said.
College and Career Center Advisor Jordan Bills said the centers play an important role in helping prepare Aurora students to shape a successful future. “It’s a scary thing, I think, for students,” she said. “And I think to have someone here like myself or the other advisors at the other schools, helps provide reassurance and comfort because we’ve been through this process. To meet with kids who are first-generation [college students] to relieve some of those insecurities or fears is just a really exciting thing.”
The centers also help students obtain financial aid to ease the burden of postsecondary education. Since the APS Foundation opened the first center at Hinkley High School in 2014-15, it has helped more than 15,000 students secure over $117 million in scholarships!
Wurtz, who is planning to enlist in the United States Marine Corps after high school, said, “It makes me feel like the community really cares about us as students and that they want us to be successful as much as we can.”