The 8th annual Central Texas Career and College Recruitment Fair was from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church. The fair was brought to Brown County by The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) whose president, Dr. Juan Andrade is a graduate from Brownwood High School and Howard Payne University. Students from Brown County and it’s surrounding areas came together for an educational and fun event which gave them important information about their futures.

Schools involved included Bangs, Blanket, Brookesmith, Brownwood, Coleman, Comanche, Deleon, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Gorman, Gustine, May, Mullin, Premier, San Saba, Santa Anna, Stephenville, Victory Life and Zephyr.

The day began with dividing the schools into three groups, red, blue and green, when registering. Each school was assigned a specific group and team volunteer who led them to the different units. Every student then received a name tag with their appropriate group color to help volunteers keep students in their proper groups.

The separated groups also made the group size more manageable and gave students a better opportunity to speak one on one with advisors, faculty and staff from different jobs and colleges.

The day then began with motivational speaker, Jimmy Cabrera, CSP president of Success Through Excellence, who inspired and encouraged those in attendance. Cabrera is ranked as one of the top motivational speakers in the United States, who is known for his dynamic speaking ability.

“Wasn’t he great,” said Martha Villegas Miranda, MSSW, Director of Operations, “He even motivates the adults in the room.”

After Cabrera spoke, the groups divided and went to one of the three stations. The groups switched stations every hour, until each group had been through every unit.

The first unit for the red group was a financial aid seminar, which walked students through the process and pitfalls of applying for financial aid and some of the programs available for students.

The second unit gave students the chance to walk through and speak with faculty and staff from different colleges and jobs at numerous booths which lined one of the event rooms at Coggin Ave.

Students were given a punch card and each student had to visit a certain number of booths and receive punches from that booth before they could get in line for their complimentary lunch, a choice between burritos or pizza with a beverage, water or juice.

The booths included representatives from Abilene Christian University, Cisco Jr. College, Hardin Simmons, Howard College, Howard Payne University, McMurray College, Ranger College, Angelo State University, Tarleton State University, Texas Massage Academy, Texas Tech University

, Texas State Technical School, Weatherford College, 96.9 the Breeze, 3M, the Army, Army ROTC, Brownwood Firefighters, Brownwood Police officers, Brownwood Regional Medical Center, Central Texas Farm Credit, Guardian EMS, Loadcraft Industry, the Marines, Texas Department of Transportation, Workforce Solutions and many more.

At each college’s booth, students spoke about the programs and majors they are looking into and the options for that course at their perspective college. Those at the career booths spoke with students about their jobs and what it takes to work in their chosen field.

The final unit include two guest speakers, Miranda and Adrian Calderon, Coordinator, outreach and program operations for USHLI. Miranda spoke to the students about why they should pursue postsecondary education or training and how that pursuit can enhance their lives.

At the end of the day, the three groups reassembled and numerous scholarships were awarded through a number of drawings. Around 35 students walked away with scholarships for college or postsecondary education. Howard Payne gave away 10 scholarships valued at $500 each, Ranger College offered 15 scholarships valued at $2,500 each and 10 scholarships were given to any university, valued at $2