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September 18, 2018

Birdlebough Alumni Give Phoenix Juniors, Seniors Advice About College


Eight John C. Birdlebough High School graduates returned to their alma mater recently to discuss a variety of topics related to higher education.

The alums served as panelists during the annual College Day at the school, where juniors and seniors asked for advice on everything from college life to financial aid.

John C. Birdlebough High School graduates Gianna Garofalo, Meghan Barry and Ricky Pizzouli answer questions from juniors and seniors about higher education.

John C. Birdlebough High School graduates Gianna Garofalo, Meghan Barry and Ricky Pizzouli answer questions from juniors and seniors about higher education.

On the stage inside the high school auditorium, seniors Ashley Centner and Olivia Uttamsingh stood at a podium alongside the panelists and asked questions that were compiled by their peers. Students wanted to learn more about the advantages of living off campus, the challenges with declaring or changing a major, the timeline to apply, among other topics.

“The questions come right from the students and the answers are from Phoenix graduates, so those answers and advice carry more weight than if it was coming from a teacher,” said JCB English teacher Michelle Lewis. “This is our final push to get the students to submit their college applications.”

That push, Lewis said, pays off as the juniors and seniors walk away with a better understanding of what it means to be “college ready.”

To be ready for that next step, most college-bound seniors should have submitted a handful of applications by this point, according to panelist Meghan Barry, a 2013 graduate.

“You really should be finishing up that process,” Barry said. “It’s not too late, but you need to focus now and get the applications sent out as soon as possible. Apply to a bunch of different schools, that way you’ll have a nice pool to choose from and you won’t have to settle for that one safety school.”

In addition to the questions about financial aid and the application process, students were also curious as to the workload and the availability of professors to help outside of regular class time.

Drew Musumeci, a 2005 JCB graduate, noted that the workload depends on a number of factors such as the college, the professor and the major.

However, he stressed that there are plenty of resources on campus as long as students are proactive in seeking help.

“The professors are not going to come to you, they’re not going to hold your hand,” Musumeci said. “You have to ask for help. You have to approach them.”

After more than an hour of questions, juniors and seniors also had the opportunity to sit down with the panelists individually.

Other members on the panel included Mason Bowering (2014), Ryan Pinzer (2014), Ben Manzer (2012), Gianna Garofalo (2014), Ricky Pizzouli (2012) and Ben Ewald (2012).

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