This past spring I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a “speed networking” program at several Clermont County High Schools. This venture, put together by the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, connected area high school juniors and seniors with more than fifty business leaders in a series of quick – seven minute- encounters. Teams of three or four students rotated among individuals set up in school gyms or cafeterias to discuss job readiness and career options.
It was a great way for me to learn about the ideas today’s high school students have about their future plans, whether they be in the workforce or perhaps in a trade school or traditional college. I was even able to meet some students enrolled in Chatfield for the summer or fall! Not only was that exciting, but it shows how much the Chatfield brand has grown and our reputation as a great place for college has stretched beyond Brown County into neighboring communities. Clearly, Clermont County residents (as well as those from Clinton, Adams, Hamilton and Highland Counties) now see Chatfield as a welcoming and supportive option for higher education, and ultimately a better job with more potential for future earnings over a lifetime.
I was impressed with all of the student I met. In total, there were probably 150 or more! Of course, with these early morning meetings, some were more engaged than others, and the yawns I encountered I quickly attributed to late-night activities the night before, as opposed to a boring presentation on my part. Nevertheless, we made it through, and I was able to share some of my experiences as a student, lawyer, business person, and now as someone blessed to be involved in higher education.
What I learned from them is that some have a good idea of what they want to do, while others do not. That is okay! Many had college plans already set, and were anxious to get going with classes at UC, Xavier, NKU, or Chatfield. Others had jobs already lined up, in family businesses, or in places they were currently working, part time, as high school students.
I gave each the same advice: to work hard at whatever they choose to do; stick with it for at least a year, even if conditions are challenging; and keep all options open, because you never know what opportunities will arise. At Chatfield, we often say “Big Dreams Come True Here”. I believe that, and whenever I can, I urge young (and not so young) people to dream big, and strive to make those
The only disappointment I experienced was hearing from too many students that college was not an option for them, because either their grades were too low in high school, or they lacked the ability to pay. At Chatfield, we fully understand that college may not be the best choice for everyone. BUT, and this is a big, huge BUT, less-than- stellar high school grades and/or having little or no funding availability are not reasons to dismiss college as a viable option.
Chatfield is a place of second (and sometimes third, fourth or fifth) chances. As an open-enrollment college, your high school diploma or GED will assure your acceptance. If you are not college-ready, we have developmental classes that will help you get ready.
Financial Aid, in the form of grants (which you do not need to repay), loans (which you will), and work-study opportunities abound. In fact, Chatfield is fortunate to have many generous and supportive friends who have offered financial support for those who need it in order to attend. Our 27 endowed scholarships are exclusive to Chatfield, and available nowhere else.
So if you’ve been told you are not smart enough to attend college, or it takes a lot of money to continue your education beyond high school – you have been done an incredible disservice. Get on line and check us out, or better yet come and make a visit. We will do our best to help you achieve a better future here.
-John Tafaro, President