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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The first question was always the same, said Lt. Cmdr. Lana Rowell, who stood at the Minot State University table.

“Where is it?”

Then, once she pointed out the university’s North Dakota location on her handy map, came the inevitable second question.

“How cold is it there?”

Teachers at Yokosuka’s Nile C. Kinnick High School pulled out their college sweatshirts and T-shirts on Tuesday, some shrunken, some still boasting mustard stains of football games past, to give their students an opportunity not often found on a U.S. military base in Japan — College Night.

More than 30 teachers volunteered in the school’s first College Night effort, as universities rarely send recruiters to Japan, said Kinnick’s assistant principal, Shelly Kennedy.

“It’s regrettable that colleges just don’t have the funds,” Kennedy said. “It’s cheaper to spend $20 and send us some recruiting tools, which is what many of them did this year.”

More than 90 percent of Kinnick students go on to higher education, Kennedy said, with a large portion starting at two-year schools.

Seniors Akki Brathwaite and Ivy Molina both plan on going to community colleges, but they stopped in to College Night.

Molina went to a private international school event but said most of her information about college is from word-of-mouth.

“I just hear about places that my friends and relatives go,” Molina said.

Brathwaite said the event had potential and could be helpful “if the school you want is here.”

Hers wasn’t, she added, but she still found the experience “insightful.”

Even if the student’s dream school isn’t represented, they can still find out tidbits — for example, that 300 universities have a common application and that private schools can offer hefty scholarships, Kennedy said.

“They may be surprised at what they find out,” Kennedy said. “And the better informed they are, the better decisions they’ll make.”

College Night was a homegrown effort, with teachers volunteering to represent their alma maters and writing their schools for recruiting materials. Kennedy hopes Tuesday’s healthy turnout means she can expand the program next year and invite community grads to talk about their colleges and universities as well, she said.

Chemistry teacher Ken Wright said he welcomed the opportunity to don his sweatshirt and talk to kids and parents about University of Nevada at Reno.

“It’s a good idea,” Wright said. “The kids have a lot of questions.”

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