College Night 2008 moved to the city’s recreation center this year to accommodate the hundreds of students coming to Las Vegas from all over the state. Buses and cars from Alamo, Las Cruces, Silver City and Las Vegas crowded the large parking area surrounding the center.
Gil Gonzales, the director of recruiting at Highlands University, said there were nearly 400 students attending the ninth annual event. Every year, Luna Community College and Highlands sponsor the event, which seems to grow bigger each time. In previous years, College Night has been held at the student center at Highlands.
“The recreation center seems to be the appropriate size and everybody is complimenting us on the fact there’s plenty of room to move around and plenty of parking,” Gonzales said.
Booths representing every department at the two schools passed out information on what they do while visitors sacked away a lot of goodies being handed out at the various displays.
“Also, Financial Aid is doing three seminars to help parents and students to understand the process a little better and, of course, to find out what scholarships are available at both institutions,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said Luna is a feeder to Highlands, “so Luna’s success is our success and so we definitely want to promote them and also showcase what’s available at Highlands.”
Luna recruiter Moses Marquez said all of the instructors for the college were available to assist students with information they will need to start their college careers off on the right foot.
Pete Campos, who is set to become Luna’s new president, was in attendance.
“Luna and Highlands have built a strong partnership for the people of this area, and it’s all about education. We’re really excited about what’s going on here. Of course, this is just another step with a lot more good things to come,” Campos said.
Highlands President Jim Fries agreed with Campos and noted that the larger venue has allowed the number of people to expand and provide more space for the numerous exhibits from both schools. He said he appreciated the city making the facility available.
“We’re focusing on Highlands and Luna, but really the information is applicable for almost any place they might elect to go. This is very helpful in terms of increasing visibility and getting more students to even think about going to college. College can seem like a kind of scary, remote thing for people, and this gives them an opportunity to meet some of our faculty, staff and students and feel more comfortable. I think comfort is a great part of the decisions we make in life.”
Maurina Apache and her friends were getting a bite to eat and beginning to take a look around.
“We’re from Alamo, a small town 30 miles north of Magdalena,” Apache said. She said she wants to be a teacher after graduation from college.
Dennison Charley is only a ninth-grader from Thoreau but said it’s never too early to think about his future.
“I’m trying to pick a good career for myself when I grow up and go to college.”
West Las Vegas High School senior Crista Gallegos was another satisfied customer and said she had found information that will help her in her decision on where to go to college.