Education

Open house provides opportunity for students

Serafino Mazza hopes his experience at South Hills School of Business and Technology will wear off on others.

Mazza, who’s studying business administration, management and marking, signed up last year to be an ambassador who helps promote the school and its programs to potential students.

He was among a group of students who acted as guides on Thursday during an open house at the school.

South Hills student ambassadors promote school to potential upcoming students

“I just want to be able to give people advice from someone who’s been through the system and answer questions to the best of my ability,” Mazza said.

The biggest advice he said he had was for students to not be afraid to ask for help.

But the event took a different approach to a general open house event.

The school opened up its campuses in Altoona, Lewistown and State College to anyone interested in furthering their education.

Instead of getting an earful from administrators promoting the school, participants ages 15 to 55 spent a day in life of a student.

It’s a structured day through the school, but unique in that they’re getting to hear about the school from current students and graduates and from company (representatives) who have hired South Hills grads

Brian Rutter, director of admissions

“It’s a structured day through the school, but unique in that they’re getting to hear about the school from current students and graduates and from company (representatives) who have hired South Hills grads,” Director of Admissions Brian Rutter said.

It started with registration and a welcome session, followed by class visitations, and a question-and-answer session.

South Hills offers this program four times a year, but Thursday’s event was only the second time employers were invited to be a part of it.

The Career Exploration Day included about 130 participants at the State College campus on Waupelani Drive.

Some campuses get more participants for open house than they expected

There were also about 150 at Altoona — about three times what they originally expected — and about 25 in Lewistown, Rutter said.

And students from as far away as Juniata High School in Mifflintown were part of the program.

At Bellefonte Area High School, school guidance counselors emailed students schoolwide to see if they were interested in spending that day at South Hills.

Juniors Ethan Brownell, R.J. Rupert and Rebecca Snook said they wanted to take advantage of the opportunity,

“I think it’s a great idea,” Snook said. “We don’t often get these chances, but we’re able to learn about these kinds of options and see what it’s like.”

For a majority of the student participants, they said they’re nearly set on going to South Hills. For others, it’s just a way to keep their options open.

Students from as far as Juniata High School were involved in event

“I like what it offers, but I have a few more (schools) on the list,” Juniata High School junior Nadine Norris said.

She’s interested in going into the medical field and eventually becoming a registered nurse, but she checked out other classes including criminal justice.

Rutter said administrators will evaluate the event and tailor the next one according to feedback they got from participants.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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