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High-schoolers get night to consider future
College Fair - Marines original.jpg
U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. John Slayton goes over material with WCHS senior Jaden Gannaway, who has already enlisted in the Marines, while Jessica Robinson listens.

Students preparing to launch into life after high school received a touch of direction Monday when College Night was held at WCHS.

Recruiters from colleges, universities and military branches were on hand to provide options for the future that awaits.

For WCHS senior Jaden Gannaway, he’s already made his decision as he’s enlisted with the U.S. Marines.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” said Gannaway while talking with Staff Sgt. John Slayton.

Slayton, a 16-year Marine veteran, proved to be a valuable resource. A former amphibious assault vehicle operator, Slayton is now a full-time recruiter.

“We have the hardest physical and moral standards of any branch,” said Slayton. “It’s like any other job. It has its good days and bad days. I love being a recruiter. It’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done. It takes quality people and produces quality Marines.”

For those not interested in the military, Jordan McCullough was representing Maryville College, a school of some 1,200 students nestled in East Tennessee. McCullough was quick to tout the college as being 20 minutes from downtown Knoxville and 20 minutes from the Smoky Mountains.

“At Maryville, we connect a small classroom experience with real-world experience,” said McCullough. “When you leave, you’ll be able to speak effectively and write effectively. We prepare students for their first and last job.

At Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Spenser Smith also talked about the advantages of attending a small school.

“You know your professors and they know you,” said Smith, a Carson-Newman graduate. He said the ratio of students to teachers is 13-to-1.

Tennessee Tech in Cookeville is one of the more popular choices for local students.

With over 40 majors and 100 concentrations, recruiter Lucy McGauvran said the school has an option for almost everyone.

“We have over 600 scholarships on campus to provide financial assistance,” said McGauvran.