Meeting of the Minds brings light to students futures


Ronan Walsh, The Freelancer

Mari Foster, Matthew Hart, Darin Earley, and host Eric Twisselmann discuss the benefits of a college education at the Meeting of Minds GATE event.

Ronan Walsh, Opinion Editor

“What is the Purpose of a College Education?” was the question posed by the La Serna Meeting of Minds Symposium on Thursday, Nov. 16th in the school library.

This was the first Meeting of the Minds symposium in  over 6 years. According to Ms. Foster, the speakers involved  considered many different themes, but ultimately decided on decided on the topic of

Hosted by teacher Eric Twisselmann, the evening’s discussion featured a panel of two La Serna High teachers and two community members. Each panel member gave a presentation about the reasons that they attended college and why they believe a college education is important. Afterward, the panel answered audience questions. All speakers conveyed a similar theme: the purpose of higher education is not just to increase earning power.

Mari Foster, a LSHS teacher, gave a humorous presentation about a survey she conducted wherein 150 students, teachers, and community members ranked from 1 to 5  the purpose of pursuing a college education. She found that most of the 150 people polled thought that the purpose of going to college was to enable you to make more money.

Robert Garrison, a LSHS teacher, gave a historical background on higher education. He said at the turn of the century, 2% of American youth were formally enrolled in universities. After the GI Bill, in the second half of the 20th century, enrollment at college campuses exploded. Over the past few decades, there has been a paradigmal shift from experiencing college to using it as a stepping stone to make money. Between 2012 and 2014 there was a 15% decrease in degrees in the humanities and a 30% increase in business degrees.

Union representative, Matthew Hart began his speech by stating that he came from an “Orange Collar” family. “I’m the only male in my family who hasn’t been in jail,” said Hart. After barely graduating from La Serna, Hart worked at Vons and had no plan for his future. His friend enrolled him in a Political Science class at a community college, and it opened his mind. He later enrolled in a Cal State Dominguez Hills and graduated with a 3.97 GPA for his bachelor’s degree and a 4.0 with his master’s degree.

Dr. Darin Earley, a professor at Loyola Marymount University’s Department of Education, took a more casual and comedic approach to his presentation. He posed a question to the audience, he asked “If you could leave La Serna a get a job that paid $50,000 a year, would you?” He told students while at La Serna “you get your eggs scrambled for you, out in the real world, you have to scramble for your eggs. ” Earley spoke about how his world was expanded as a student at Howard University. He urged the students to recognize that “you’re at your best when you are making others better.”

Students who were interested in learning more about higher education certainly got their fill at this entertaining and very eye-opening event.