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Chester County Press

AGHS alumni speak with students about life after graduation

05/13/2016 12:24PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Avon Grove High School is inviting its alumni back to celebrate their achievements and talk with current students about their paths. For the first time, Avon Grove will host "AG Talks: Advice, Ideas, Stories," May 16 at 7 p.m. Community members are also encouraged to attend.

Four alumni presenters and two student presenters will speak at the event, which will include time before and after the session for socialization. Doors at the Avon Grove High School will open at 6:30 p.m. and presentations will start at 7 p.m. in the AGHS auditorium. Around 8 p.m., attendees will move into the the center court where there will be food and refreshments as well as information booths manned by alumni and current students.

The booths will offer a variety of post-secondary perspectives including life in: the military, as a student-athlete, in construction, in graduate school, in museum curation, study abroad, research, and engineering internships.

The event was conceived by 2014 Avon Grove graduate Marcus Forst. After volunteering as an Honors Admissions Ambassador at Temple University where he was enrolled, Forst realized he loved the interaction with prospective students as he gave them tours of campus and discussed college life with them.

In April 2015, Forst was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a very aggressive blood cancer, and had to abruptly withdraw from college on a medical leave.

“As I dealt with this, I received so much support and encouragement from my friends, many of whom were former teachers and students at Avon Grove,” said Forst. “The treatment cycles were intense and I spent a lot of hours in bed thinking, and one of the things that really helped me was listening to stories from former classmates. Their lives and stories were very inspiring.”

As Marcus moved into remission he wanted to find a way to contribute to his community and share the stories of Avon Grove graduates with the community. He also wanted to offer current students an opportunity to talk with recent alumni, similar to what he did with prospective Temple students.

Marcus remembered taking an Advanced Placement Composition class with Heather Buono (Winterbottom) as a junior at AGHS, in which his class presented research projects in the “TED talk” format that has become so popular. The students coined the term, “AP Talks.”

“It seemed like a natural fit for this idea,” said Forst, who contacted Buono and members of the High School Administration to see if they thought the idea would be feasible. It was reimagined as AG Talks. Emily McCarthy, another 2014 Avon Grove Graduate, and Wake Forest student, has assisted in planning the food and booths for the AG Talks, and has secured a donation of pizza for the event from local business Bravo Pizza.

The event is free but students may make donations to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society at the event.

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