From left: Jenny, John and Chip Roark at FAFSA night last week.

Altavista Combined School (ACS) offered numerous opportunities related to post-secondary education to its students last week for Virginia College Application Week (VCAW).

Lindsey West Milam, the counseling director, and recent hire Jesse Richard took leading rolls in organizing VCAW events. Students heard from numerous employers and colleges throughout the week. ACS principal Ron Proffitt said he felt the week’s events helped further Campbell County Public Schools’ mission of helping students pursue any endeavor they choose after graduation.

“I think this is definitely a showcase of that philosophy and that mission,” Proffitt said.

On Monday the University of Lynchburg, Randolph College, Longwood University and Liberty University sent representatives to ACS. Students were given the opportunity to fill out applications and in some cases decisions were rendered on-site. 

On Tuesday English Construction and C&C Piping and Fabrication visited the school to talk to students about working in their respective industries. Students also had opportunities to fill out college applications and job applications on Tuesday. Then, Tuesday night was FAFSA night, and over a dozen students received assistance to fill out the FAFSA form.

On Wednesday, students heard from Team Nurse, a nursing company serving Southwest Virginia and Ashwell Tree Services. C&C Piping and Fabrication also came back to talk to middle school students, and roughly a quarter of the senior class applied to Central Virginia Community College (CVCC).

Thursday was military day, and students heard from Army, Air Force and Coast Guard recruiters, in addition to Virginia Technical Institute (VTI).

Throughout VCAW, teachers were given various prompts to spark career discussions with students. Additionally, the school’s leadership class also helped plan and execute events for American Education Week, which also took place last week. They served a paraprofessionals breakfast, and gave prizes and positive messages to teachers. They also sent out thank you notes to families.

Lastly, ACS planned a special assembly for November 23 for the purpose of announcing the plans of any students who have already been accepted into college, applied for a job or joined the military. A drawing for a lump sum of $500 to purchase books was also planned for the assembly.

“Whatever their choice may be, anything we can do to help celebrate those decisions and encourage students is 100% what we need to do, and I think the students appreciate that,” Proffitt said. “Hopefully that helps encourage them to make those decisions.”

ACS is also offering a new service called the Future Center to help students with their post-secondary plans, which is what Richard was hired for. The Future Center is a program offered at various Lynchburg schools and is now being rolled out in Altavista and Amherst County through a group called Beacon of Hope. Though the Future Center is still being set up in Altavista, Richard has already begun helping students with things like the FAFSA form, or with various things during VCAW. The Future Center is also designed to help with test prep for the SAT and ACT and provide tutoring.

“We’re trying to eliminate any barriers that students may face,” Richard said about the Future Center’s efforts.

There will be a room set aside in ACS specifically for the Future Center. Concrete plans are not in place for when that will be ready, but Proffitt said the school will likely plan some form of reveal or grand opening when it is.