As a junior at Scottsdale’s Chaparral High School, Landry Low loved to sew and dreamed of working in fashion design, but wasn’t sure how she would get there. Then at a school event, this 4.6-GPA honors student happened to spot a pamphlet for the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa.
“I had no idea what EVIT was and no one had ever explained it to me,” she said.
Through her own research, Low discovered that not only could she attend the public career and technical high school for free, but that she could also study in the field that was her passion: fashion design.
“It was a chance to expand my education in the direction I wanted,” said Low, 19, now a second-year student at the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.
On Saturday, Jan. 26, EVIT will open up its main campus, 1601 W. Main St., to parents and students who are also seeking a place where education is relevant to their interests. From 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., EVIT Expo 2013 will showcase more than 35 occupational training programs such as aviation, law enforcement, massage therapy and video production.
The free family event will also include tours, a parade, coronation of Mister and Miss EVIT, car show and motorcycle exhibit, the grand opening of Bridges Preschool, and live entertainment provided by EVIT’s radio station, 90.7 and 92.7 FM The Goldmine, which is celebrating its second anniversary. There will also be an electronics recycling event, as well as games and prizes.
Through partnerships with 10 East Valley school districts — Mesa, Gilbert, Higley, Chandler, Tempe, Scottsdale, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, J.O. Combs and Fountain Hills — high school students can take a variety of tuition-free classes at EVIT that fit their schedule. EVIT also offers adult education programs at competitive tuition rates.
EVIT Expo 2013 takes place just as National School Choice Week is starting. Currently more than 3,000 students are attending EVIT as their school of choice.
“EVIT is the school where kids love to come because we turn their passion into paychecks,” said Superintendent Sally Downey.
EVIT is not the sort of vo-tech school adults might recall from when they were kids. Instead, it features state-of-the-art, high-tech facilities and equipment at the 65-acre Dr. A. Keith Crandell (Main) Campus in west Mesa, and the 10-acre $17 million East Campus at 6625 S. Power Road, adjacent to ASU Polytechnic.
Downey said 64 percent of EVIT students go on to college, and former EVIT students are working in industries all over the Valley. In fact, EVIT’s specific mission is “to provide a productive, technically trained workforce that meets the market-driven needs of business and industry.”
For Landry Low, who completed the fashion design program in 2011, the choice to attend EVITwas simple: “I had control. I got to choose what I was learning.”
Low didn’t just want to belong to a school fashion club; she wanted to actually make fashion herself. Through EVIT, she was able to develop a portfolio of her work and win national design competitions – all of which helped her get into Pratt Institute, a college known for turning out well-rounded, employable artists and designers who can earn six-figure salaries in their first year, she said.
“The best choice I ever made in my life was to come to EVIT because EVIT led me to Pratt,” Low said. “Everybody has a place in this world. EVIT allows you to find your place.”
For more information about EVIT Expo 2013, visit www.evit.com/expo online.
CeCe Todd is a public information officer for the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa and a former professional journalist covering education issues in Arizona.