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By Bryon Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 24, 1997

High school seniors taste campus life

Some of Arizona's top minority high school seniors and their folks trekked to the UA campus Saturday to get a leg up on their college education.

About 250 students and parents attended the Outstanding Minority High School Senior Day, where they were welcomed - and fed - by University of Arizona representatives.

UA admissions counselors and college representatives handed out applications and paperwork the students will need to start a UA career. All of the students are in the top 25 percent of their class.

"It's kind of scary," said Etta Thurman, who accompanied her son Demetric Smith, a Florence High School senior.

"I think I'm more nervous than he is," she said, adding Demetric will be her first child to leave home.

Admissions counselor Rafael Meza said the students and parents heard a presentation by UA President Peter Likins, listened to UA student speakers for their perspective on the campus and attended sample lectures given by professors.

The high schoolers helped themselves to a catered lunch in the Arizona Ballroom and browsed different stations set up by representatives from 13 UA colleges and divisions.

Margaret Thomas-Chaney, African American student affairs interim coordinator, said she liked the opportunity to talk with parents as well as students.

She added part of her job was to let parents know, despite a student body of about 35,000, she makes an effort to deal one-on-one with students.

"I call students to make sure that they meet deadlines and keep up their grades," she said.

Admissions coordinator Kasey Urquidez said these top achievers shouldn't have any trouble getting into college.

"Since they are in the top 25 percent of their class, they are eligible for enrollment in any of the three (Arizona) state universities," Urquidez said.

Charlie Everett, who represented the Society of Black Engineers, said his he was there to tell parents and students about the organization. He said it is a support group that helps students find internships and scholarships along with other services. Everett said his group works to build bridges to diverse groups of students.

"You don't have to be an engineer, and you don't have to be Black," he said.

Later, the students and parents went on informal tours of the campus.

Andrea Medrano, who goes to Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, said she was surprised by informality of the campus, but is not that eager to attend.

"It's kind of small," she said, "this is my backup school."

Titus Hardge, a senior at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, said he has already made up his mind about what school he wants to study engineering.

"I'm coming here," he said.

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