2016-09-07 / News

Marlette, Brown City share college advisor

BY STEVEN KOVAC
810-452-2684 •skovac@mihomepaper.com


Sydney James Sydney James MARLETTE — Applying to college and for the financial aid to help pay for it can be a daunting task for high school students and parents alike. But thanks to the efforts of some innovative local educators, things just got a little easier for them.

When school starts this week, Marlette and Brown City High School students will have the advantage of an on-site college advisor hired to supplement the assistance already provided by their regular guidance counselor.

Sydney James, a recent graduate of Central Michigan University, will be dividing her time between the two high schools, answering questions, providing advice, and helping with college and financial aid applications. She will spend fifty percent of her time in Brown City High School and fifty percent of her time in Marlette High School as part of a joint effort of the two districts to secure and share her services.

According to Brown City Schools Superintendent Doug Muxlow, the bulk of the funding for the position came from the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), with each school district contributing $2,500 the first year, $5,000 for the second year, and $7,500 every year thereafter.

James says she sees numerous advantages in her near-peer relations with the students, especially the fact that she just recently went through what they are about to face.

“While still in high school, I did early college at Lansing Community College. From there I went to Lake Superior State, and from there I transferred to Central, where I graduated with a degree in psychology,” said James.

“As part of my training for this job, I was required to live and work at Michigan State for a month. We did hands-on simulation training, and we toured eight to ten Michigan colleges.”

James said, “I’ve always been a future-focused person. Having a plan is very important. Coming up I had a lot of support. I want to provide that kind of support for others. I want to let them know that they are not alone.”

Sydney is the youngest of eight children, having four brothers and three sisters.

“My siblings either went to college or into the military,” she said. “My mom works for an insurance company. My dad, who recently passed away, was a military man. He served both in the Army and the Marines.”

“We are ecstatic to have Sydney joining us,” said Marlette High School Principal Kyle Wood. “She brings an immense knowledge of current college practices with intensive training all summer to prepare her.”

Wood explained, “We want every senior to leave with a post-secondary plan. ‘College’ looks different for everyone. For some that could be a university, others that means community college, and others a trade school. We want every senior to leave with a plan and the tools to put that plan into action.

“Ms. James will assist in a variety of areas including one on one college advising to reduce barriers to college admission, helping students and families understand the FASFA process, identifying students eligible for the Tuition Incentive Program, coordinate with staff for college month activities, create announcement day activities where students announce their post-secondary plan, assist with scholarship applications, and host informational meetings after school hours for parents and students.”

Brown City and Marlette are among 62 schools in Michigan hosting 49 college advisors, and the other ones in Sanilac County.

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