Why should athletes have all the fun?

The rigors, and benefits, of competition extend to academics, too. Students will get a chance to see just how many opportunities there are for academic competition at the 2017 Superintendent’s College & Career Readiness for Success Forum Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. at Trumbull High. The night is open to all high school and middle school students.

“This is part of our effort to make sure students and parents really appreciate the full picture of what it means to say Trumbull High School is preparing kids for college and career success,” said Superintendent Gary Cialfi.

The evening includes an open forum for college officials, corporate human resource professionals and others to meet and talk to students and parents.

“It’s a chance to learn what universities are looking for when they admit students, what HR people are looking for when they make hires,” Cialfi said.

At the heart of the forum are four Trumbull High students, and four recent graduates, who will discuss how the school gave them an opportunity to explore and define what they are passionate about.

“There are 56 academic teams throughout the district,” Cialfi said. “In the classroom you can learn content and skills, but these teams give you the opportunity to use those skills.”

Dan Neumann, executive director of the Trumbull Business-Education Initiative and the Trumbull Academic Challenge for Excellence Foundation, said competition brings out the best in students.

“You can practice all day long, but if you’ve got a competitive setting, you draw the best to the surface,” he said. “Constitutional law can be fascinating and invigorating, but I’m not sure students think of it that way until it’s competitive.”

Cialfi said the forum could be helpful in shaping a student’s future.

“Faced with decision-making, pathways to follow, minors and majors to consider, the common denominator is that there are absolutely wonderful opportunities that require critical thinking, communication skills and collaborative learning experiences,” he said. “College and HR people want students that can think out of the box and be innovative problem solvers. That’s what these opportunities provide.”

In exploring their passions and interests, the students might also discover things they never thought about, Cialfi said.

“I had a student hell-bent on going into medicine, then she got involved in mock trial and it opened her eyes to the law,” he said. “She ended up being a patent attorney working in medical equipment.”