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High school students set sights on college
Brunswick High School sophomore Kayla Byrd wants to take her education a step or two further than her parents took theirs.

"I feel like I should try to be a neurosurgeon since my parents are nurses," Byrd said Friday as she proudly displayed her University of Florida T-shirt as a statement of her intent.

Byrd and her classmates, Taylor Fontaine and Cody Quates, are the type of students administrators were hoping to reach by asking them, their classmates, teachers and principals to wear their favorite college's gear during BHS College Day. Quates said he wants to attend the University of Alabama so he can get a good job and not have to work in construction labor like his parents.

"I don't want to have get two jobs just to make ends meet," Quates said.

Fontaine, who hopes to be a military officer one day, wore a University of Georgia shirt on Friday.

"The military requires a college degree to become an officer," he said.

Principal Toriano Gilbert, wearing a shirt from his alma mater Bethune-Cookman University, said the day was intended to open the door for a teachable moment.

"It affords, as educators, the opportunity to start a conversation about college," Gilbert said. "A lot of students don't have family members who went to post-secondary school. Some may not have even seen a college degree."

Although the idea of wearing college gear may seem simple, Gilbert is a firm believer that promoting an atmosphere where students set their sights on post-secondary education will result in better graduation and college enrollment rates.

Teacher Slade Turner, a graduate of Valdosta State University, has fully bought into the idea.

"I like the fact that it gets the students excited about college," he said just minutes after teaching Quates, Fontaine, Byrd and the rest of his class about applying for college and searching for scholarships.

"It's a good thing for them to be excited about it," Turner said.



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