FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 12, 2012) -- Spring break is coming to an end and the Fort Rucker Education Center is hoping to get education back on people's minds with its Spring Fling Education Fair April 27 that showcases to Soldiers and Family members the opportunities that are available.

Nearly 50 different colleges and schools have been invited to the fair to show Soldiers and their Family members what they have to offer, said Sally Markovich, education counselor at the Fort Rucker Education Center.

"We always look forward to getting that many schools together in one place," she said "[These colleges and schools] are very supportive of the military and are always itching to do something like this."

The education center provides college education from schools like Enterprise-Ozark Community College and Troy University, but the majority of Soldiers do a lot of their learning online because they have to be so mobile, said Markovich. The education center is trying to get as many schools involved in the fair as possible to provide Soldiers and their Family members with a broad view of schools.

"In today's society, great emphasis is placed on education," said Jeff Pouncy, education services officer for the education center. "This country has progressed to the state it's in now because we have always placed great value on higher education."

For that reason, it's important to broaden the horizons of Soldiers and expose them to different avenues of education that might pique their interest, said Markovich.

The Spring Fling is an opportunity for Soldiers to see other schools and be exposed to different types of learning, she said, adding that not all of the schools that were invited to the fair are traditional colleges that most people would be used to.

Some of the institutions that have been invited are American Military University, Auburn University, Alabama State University-Birmingham, Faulkner University and Full Sail University, which is a school for the entertainment and media industries.

"Full Sail is an example of us trying to get a mix of schools," said Markovich. "A lot of people think of college and they think of English, math and things like that. It's up to us as education counselors to teach people that there is more out there for them.

"Another one of the schools we invited is a school that teaches truck driving," she said. "That's the type of diversity we want to show at one time. It's all just education.

"One of the things we want to emphasize is life-long learning," said Markovich. "That's our goal -- to make sure we are getting our Soldiers and their Families to think about always growing with change and always picking up some new knowledge."

The education center will also have its own exhibit up during the fair to educate people on the services they have to offer as well as a college education, said the education counselor.

The education center booth will be there to educate Soldiers and Families about the post-9/11 GI Bill, she said, adding that with the GI Bill, Soldiers are able to give some or all of their post-9/11 benefit to their spouse or other Family members.

The Spring Fling will be open to the public and be held outside the Fort Rucker Education Center at Bldg. 4502 where the different colleges and schools will have their booths setup from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27.

The schools will sponsor food having free hamburgers and hotdogs available for all in attendance, said Markovich.

For more information, call 255-3613.