Alie Noel of Mount Airy wishes she would have paid attention when a South Carroll High School alumnus told her to take more Advanced Placement classes and avoid slacking off in her senior year.
Now, as a senior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., Noel, 21, offered the same advice to seniors at her alma mater.
“I kind of took for granted [what they said],” she said. “I hope [the students] take our advice.”
Noel, a 2009 graduate of the high school, was one of 13 of the high school’s alumni who spoke to the senior class of 252 students during the Sykesville school’s annual Alumni College Fair on Monday.
The fair, which has been a part of the school for at least a decade, features a panel discussion, where alumni spoke about making the transition from high school to higher education.
Textbook expenses, roommate relationships and the importance of time management were among the topics discussed during the event.
It was the second time Noel participated in the annual event, the first being when she was a freshman in college.
Caitlin Martin, 21, of Mount Airy said that she hopes that all of the experiences of the featured alumni will help the seniors at the high school.
“I think all [the alumni] had some good advice,” Martin said. “There’s things that I wish I knew back then.”
Martin, also a senior at James Madison University, said in recent months she has been helping one particular South Carroll student get through the college application process — her brother.
Martin’s brother Jeffrey, 18, is a senior at the school and was in the audience during the fair.
“I saw him and his friends waving to me,” she said, with a smile. “I’ve been trying to help him as much as I can through this [college] process.”
Jason Arnold, an academic facilitator at South Carroll High School, said that the fair helps students have a better understanding of their options after high school graduation.
Last year about 78 percent of the high school’s graduates went on to colleges, technical schools, military academies or directly into military service. Of the graduates, 127 went on to four-year college institutions, Arnold said.
So far this year, 135 students have requested that their transcripts be sent to a four-year college, about 54 percent of the senior class, he said.
“Every year we get a lot of positive feedback about the fair [from the students],” Arnold said. “We [as educators] give them a lot of messages ourselves ... but for them to hear those messages from their peers, I think that it means more.”
Sara Spaur, a senior at the high school, said that she will “think about” the experiences that the alumni shared when she goes to college next fall.
“I thought [the fair] was very useful,” she said.
The 17-year-old Mount Airy resident said that she has applied to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Maryland, College Park. She also plans to apply to Georgetown University.