Paramount, CA – Paramount High School senior Natalie Benitez went from dreaming of attending medical school to establishing a plan of action after attending the District’s second annual K-12 College Fair on Sept. 26.

Natalie and her mother, Silvia, were searching for a competitive medical program that could help her achieve career goals while also keeping her fairly close to home. Within moments of entering the fair in the Paramount High School gymnasium, the duo discovered Loyola Marymount University.

“Natalie really fell in love with the school and all the options for study offered in the area of medicine,” Silvia said. “We were somewhat familiar with LMU, but getting the opportunity to talk with representatives from the school and ask important questions really opened our eyes to new possibilities.”

Natalie was one of more than 1,500 Paramount Unified students inspired to pursue paths to collegiate success during the event. Students and their families met representatives from more than 20 colleges and universities, including UC Berkeley, UCLA, Charles Drew University and the U.S. Naval Academy.

The schools in attendance provided information on academic opportunities, financial aid, scholarships and the college transfer process as Paramount families received a comprehensive overview on how to plan for higher education.

“One of the most rewarding sights of the day was witnessing elementary students walking around with college pamphlets and seeing the seeds of college planted at such an early edge,” PUSD Superintendent Ruth Pérez said. “Exposing our young students to college access will give them a head start on achieving their goals.”

Paramount Unified expanded what was a high school college fair to a districtwide event last year to give younger grades an earlier opportunity to begin considering higher education options.

“Opening up our College Fair to younger students and their families has made a big impact on our community,” PUSD Director of Secondary Education Dr. Greg Francois said. “Paramount as a whole is becoming more informed about higher education, and it’s leading to our children becoming more college-ready.”

This year’s College Fair also featured a workshop on Naviance software, which helps students create application materials and connect with potential colleges. In addition, a Howard University alumnus discussed historically black colleges.

“We are continuing to expand our College Fair to cover broader topics and better prepare students for college and career,” PUSD Board President Vivian Hansen said. “I want to thank all of the colleges in attendance, our volunteers, and the families who helped to make this year’s event such an inspiring one.”


100418_PARAMOUNT_COLLEGEFAIR: Students pose during Paramount Unified’s second annual K-12 College Fair on Sept. 26. The event exposed more than 1,500 students to college representatives and scholarship opportunities.