Event Prepares Students for the "Next Big Thing" - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Event Prepares Students for the "Next Big Thing"

Updated: Oct 1, 2013 10:41 PM

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges hosted its annual "Next Big Thing" event at the River Center in Davenport on Tuesday. The lessons learned were all about helping prepare teens for life outside the classroom .

From college counseling to career options to basic life skills, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges' "Next Big Thing" is giving area high school students the tools they need to succeed in life after graduation.

"These are the people who are going to live in our community after they're finished with high school, and so we want to make sure that we are supporting not only the students, supporting our community, it could mean economic development, it just means success and people thriving in the Quad Cities," said LaDrina Wilson, Assistant Director for Enrollment and Customer Service at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, who helped organize the event.

Nearly a thousand high school seniors from the Davenport district took advantage of the opportunity. They took part in a wide-variety of break out sessions throughout the day, which covered everything from securing financial aid for college to financial planning for everyday life.

In the evening, the event was opened up to the public, and students of all ages from across the QCA came with their parents for a resource fair, and to attend some of the same sessions offered to students earlier in the day.

"They're getting a lot of good information that I wish I had," Wilson said.

The goal here is to get kids thinking about what they want, about what it will take to get there, and even about how the decisions they make now could impact their career goals down the road.

That's something that stuck with Dina Gibbs, a senior at Davenport Central High School who dreams of having a career in nursing, and who was looking for help deciding which college to attend by attending the Next Big Thing:

"If you really want to be a nurse, you can't have piercings certain places, you can't have tattoos certain places," she said.

It is just one of many, many take aways from this event:

"I want students to walk away feeling a sense of confidence," Wilson said.

And, hopefully, the teens left feeling more ready for whatever they choose to do after graduation -- the next big thing in their lives.

The keynote speaker at this year's "Next Big Thing" was Amy Dubois Barnett. She is the editor-in-chief for 'Ebony', the oldest and largest black magazine in the country, and she imparted her wisdom, and tips and strategies for success, to audiences during both the day-time and evening events.

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