Alumni flock back to Lane for first in-person Alumni Fair since 2020


Oliver Gerharz

Students gather in the hall near the cafeteria at the Alumni Fair.

By Oliver Gerharz, Assistant Editor

Green and yellow tablecloths and college pamphlets sit on top of tables lining the walls of the College and Career Center (CCC), dance room, and lunchroom hallway; thoughts and discussion about tuition, housing and academics fill the minds of prospective college students. 

Lane’s yearly Alumni Fair serves as a way for high school students to connect with colleges and for college students to connect with their high school. The CCC held Lane’s ninth annual Alumni Fair on Jan. 11. 

In the 2020-21 school year the Alumni Fair was a fully virtual event. In the 2021-22 school year the event was partially virtual. 

“Last year we did [the Alumni Fair] virtually. A lot of the students we projected up on the screen,” said Meredith Bantz, a school counselor at Lane. “Students were able to come view or listen to the presentation during their lunch periods and after school.”

According to Bantz, 157 juniors and seniors signed up on the form that was sent out the week before the event.

“Usually we have a little more than that, but then again I think this is because we haven’t done it in a while,” Bantz said. 

This year the fair was shaping up to be smaller than usual, so the CCC originally planned to contain it within Room 135. However, the fair went beyond that scope, spilling into the dance room and lunchroom hallway. 

“We usually host this in the lunchroom and take over the whole lunchroom so there’s a bit more space to spread out, but it was starting off kind of small – and then a few more students started adding,” Bantz said. “We’ll probably go back to a bigger space if it picks up again.”

This year 71 Lane alumni came back representing 34 colleges. According to Bantz, 18 of these representatives were from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with the dance room being divided among the different majors offered there. 

“There’s a survey called the Senior Exit Survey that CPS puts out and on that survey students should put their personal email,” Bantz said. “We gather that list and just shoot an email out to any student. We just calculate who is a freshman through a senior in college, and we reach out to whatever graduating classes those are, and then that’s how we get students back.”

One of these alumni the CCC reached out to was Ivan Aparicio, a senior at North Park University double majoring in Philosophy and Psychology. 

“I graduated in 2019,” said Ivan. “I was part of the mailing list for alumni, and since I graduated within the past four years Ms. Driesbach gave me the opportunity to come back here and represent North Park if I wanted to, and I was like of course I want to come back here.”

Ivan attended the Alumni Fair in 2018 and 2019 as a student. 

“I wanted to come back here and experience a bit of nostalgia,” Aparicio said. “But more importantly I feel like it’s important to give everyone options, different places they could go after graduation.”