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SOAR fair introduces 2,600 students to educational opportunities

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 21, 2010

SOAR Education Fair

Rep. Lloyd Doggett reads to children during the SOAR Education Fair.

More than 2,600 low-income and minority students attended the 3rd Annual SOAR Educational Fair at the Embassy Suites Conference Center Oct 9, learning about a wide array of educational opportunities available to them.

The SOAR (Seeking Opportunities Achieving Results) Education Fair began in 2008 as an initiative jointly organized by Texas State University-San Marcos, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, SMCISD, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the San Marcos Education Foundation and Gary Job Corps.

"The SOAR Education Fair is one of many of our ongoing efforts to support our local school system," said Texas State President Denise Trauth. "Texas State University has a longstanding commitment to the community to support all children to ensure that they have access to the best education possible. We were pleased to support this effort."

The fair features 55 booths providing support and educational information for the San Marcos community. The booths included P-16 programs and ranged from early childhood providers, social service agencies, SMCISD departments and Texas State.

"This opportunity is one of the few chances that our families have for a 'one stop shopping approach' to determine education initiatives in the community," said Margaret Lindsey, membership director of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. "This event allows us to reach out to our underserved families to provide them with them with information about education in San Marcos."

Additional activities included an arts and crafts corner for career exploration, a photograph corner for future graduates and a celebrity reading corner in which community members read to children.

“I thoroughly enjoyed visiting so many educators and their families at this successful event," said Representative Lloyd Doggett, one of the guest readers. "I will keep working to ensure that financial barriers never prevent to ensure that financial barriers never prevent citizens the education from which they are willing to work."

Michelle Pope, director of the Center for P-16 Initiatives and one of the organizers of the fair, explained that expected lifetime earnings for a high school graduate is $1 million, but a college degree increases that expected income to $2 million. Those increased earnings, she said, benefit not only the individual, but the community as well.

"A well-educated individual is less likely to need social support services from the community and is more likely to live a healthy lifestyle," Pope said. “We want students and parents in our community to understand the very basic message that the higher an educational level an individual achieves, the more he/she will earn in the future."

SOAR is a collaboration that includes Texas State, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, San Marcos CISD, San Marcos Education Foundation, the City of San Marcos, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Austin Community College, Gary Job Corp, the San Marcos Academy and United Way of Hays County.

For additional information, contact Michelle Pope at (512) 245-2944.