Havelock High senior Marc Anthony Montanez wants to be a chef.

Havelock High senior Marc Anthony Montanez wants to be a chef.

“I have so many ideas I just want to put to good use,” he said.

He found exactly what he wanted on the menu at Havelock High School’s annual College Day.

Organized by the school’s guidance office, College Day featured more than 50 colleges from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and even Alabama. But, it didn’t take long for Montanez to narrow his choice to Johnson and Wales and its culinary arts program.

“When I found out this college had what I wanted, I just knew it was where I wanted to be,” he said.

Havelock High juniors and seniors had the opportunity to spend 30 minutes each in the school’s gymnasium talking to college representatives and getting brochures. Many learned the early deadline to apply to many colleges is fast approaching.

Senior Catherine Koontz is already prepared for that. Planning to go into engineering in college, she has narrowed her focus to a short list of schools — N.C. State, UNC-Charlotte and Meredith.

“I wanted to learn about what kinds of programs they offered and when I might be able to see the campus,” she said, adding that she has a visit planned for Meredith later this month.

She attended College Day last year as a junior but narrowed her focus this year.

“I feel like I’m more aware of what I would like to do now,” she said. “I’ve been doing research on different colleges, so I’ve been walking around here looking at colleges that I know have my particular field of study.”

Koontz said she appreciated the opportunity to talk to college representatives face-to-face.

“I think every junior and senior should take advantage of what colleges have to offer so they can make important decisions about what they want to do,” she said.

For the college representatives, September and October are busy as they visit high schools throughout the region. Tony Williams, who is from Pamlico County, was hoping to attract students to Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“We don’t get a lot of students from this area,” he said. “A lot of students don’t want to get out of the Havelock area, and if they do, they go to ECU, which is a good thing, but they have options.”

He said Coastal Carolina has one of the largest marine sciences programs in the Southeast, and its business program has been ranked among the top five in the world.

But, Williams said he stresses to the students he talks with to go to college, even if it’s not Coastal Carolina.

“It doesn’t have to be a four-year school,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with going to a two-year school, but they need that education. That’s the important thing.”

Far away from the coast is Appalachian State, located in the North Carolina mountains in Boone. Representative Perrell Bess had a line of students waiting to talk to him.

“We’re trying to reach more students from the eastern part of the state,” he said.

One of those interested in Appalachian State was senior Madeline Hille.

“I like the mountains,” she said. “It’s really pretty up there.”

She said she’s trying to decide about a major in either music education or psychology, so she spent her College Day looking at schools that provided both.

“Most of them seem to have the same stuff,” she said. “I just have to find out what it feels like being on campus.”

Though not representing a particular college, Mary Lane Smith of the College Foundation of North Carolina attended the event to provide information about setting up an online account that can help students get information and apply to colleges.

She said students ask her most often about paying for college and finding a college that offers particular programs in which they are interested.

“CFNC is considered a community resource,” she said. “We are the primary resource for planning, applying and paying for college in the state of North Carolina.”

For more information on the College Foundation of North Carolina, go online to www.cfnc.org.