The Croom Foundation and the Mu Alpha Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. joined forces on Saturday to prepare local students for life after high school.

The West Alabama Teen Summit allowed students in ninth through twelfth grade to have an open dialogue with local colleges, including Stillman College, the University of Alabama, the University of West Alabama and Shelton State Community College, and representatives from the U.S. Armed Forces to narrow down the opportunities they can embark on after graduation.

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The event covered multiple topics, including networking, financial planning and budgeting, ACT and SAT preparation and scholarship opportunities.

Kevin Croom, executive director of The Croom Foundation, said the event was done to inform students of the endless amount of resources that are available in the community.

"Over the years, I realized that a lot of students did not understand the resources available to them to answer questions about college," Croom said. "They were unaware of available scholarships, how to pick the right college or university or how to study for the ACT. My goal was for students to walk away more confident about how to find resources needed and understand college or going to the military is not a scary thing."

Rachael James, vice-president of the Mu Alpha Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho and teacher at Central High School, said it is never too early to prepare for life after high school.

"I believe as freshmen coming in, they need to know what the end goal is going to be as seniors," James said. "They need to know that they still have opportunities to get information to prepare them for school. Getting them around as many opportunities as possible is the goal."

Stay connected with the Tuscaloosa Thread for future community events happening in and around the Druid City.

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