Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) graduated 1,886 high school seniors in 2012. This year the district's goal is to increase that number and the number who move onto higher education.
The district hosted its first 'Future Ready' event at the Amarillo Civic Center for high school students and their parents.
AISD Program Director Denise Blanchard said the idea is a branch-off from a similar event called 'Ready for the New World,' which the district hosted in previous years. She said after the event's funds depleted the district needed a fresh idea to help students prepare for college.
Jonathan Sprinkles is a motivational speaker who participated in previous AISD events. He said the message for students and parents who want to reach the next step is simple.
" T onight is really not even about having an education, but about having that dream that makes education necessary ," Sprinkles said.
AISD also invited a panel of five education professionals to answer common questions about college preparation, financial assistance and admissions.
West Texas A&M Vice President of Enrollment Management Dan Garcia said, "T his is a first time experience for both them (parents) and their children to have an opportunity to meet people who work at colleges and universities who can answer questions and can be called later in the future as a follow up."
The event started with a high school cook-off that also came along with a message.
" T his is about teamwork , i t's about having a vision, it's about communication, it's about coming together as one to produce one outcome ," Sprinkles said.
Students and their parents voted for their favorite dish of the night, and the winning group received the Golden Skillet Award.