Hosting a College Access Event During COVID

The 2020 Senior Night at Avery County High School, planned and hosted by ACAC adviser Kallie Kressly, was a huge success! Senior Night took place on Wednesday, September 16th from 5:00-6:30pm in the school’s auditorium. There were about 25 in-person attendees and 25 virtual attendees on Zoom, all seniors and parents looking to get more information about the college application and financial aid processes.

Kallie began the evening by sharing her “crash course on applying to college” and a breakdown of the college application timeline. Skip Watts from CFNC, who was attending virtually, then provided the attendees with extensive information about FAFSA, financial aid, and the process for acquiring scholarships and other funding for college. After Skip’s presentation, Kallie shared about multiple events and opportunities for college help coming up at ACHS including information about the 5 FAFSA Nights that Kallie, Avery County Student Services, and the Avery County Education Foundation will be hosting in October. Senior Night concluded with a game of “College Jeopardy”, played on Kahoot so that both in-person and virtual attendees could participate. “College Jeopardy” served as a way to review the information given in the presentations and seemed to be an effective way to conclude the event. The winner of the game won a $25 Amazon gift card!  

The parents and students in attendance seemed to be really receptive to the information shared, and many parents shared with Kallie how valuable they found the presentations after the event. This was a great opportunity for Kallie to increase her family engagement KPI and spread the word about her availability as a resource for both seniors and their families. 

Hosting a school event in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions was certainly a challenge. This was the first event ACHS has hosted in the school since the beginning of the pandemic which added pressure. All of the preparations had to be done in 2 different ways, tailored to in-person attendees and virtual attendees equally. We had to be careful to ensure that we could simultaneously deliver this information to in-person and virtual attendees. This required extensive coordination with Kallie’s student services team on technical logistics. “College Jeopardy” had to be accessible to all attendees, so Kahoot came in very handy! There were snacks at the event, both individually packaged and non-individually packaged. In order to minimize the spread of germs, there was a staff member in charge of plating snacks for in-person attendees. All in-person attendees were required to wear face coverings throughout the duration of the event and were heavily encouraged to use the hand sanitizer that was stationed throughout the space. Two ACHS staff members were in charge of seating in-person attendees in order to ensure that families were socially distanced. Every other row in the auditorium was blocked off, and families were required to sit at least 3 seats apart from one another. Using these guidelines and processes, the event was effective and safe for both in-person and virtual attendees. Senior Night at Avery High was a hit! 

*Written by Adviser Kallie Kressly

Published: Sep 22, 2020 10:43am