02/16/11 — Students get first look at career options

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Students get first look at career options

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 16, 2011 1:46 PM

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Ugo Umeofia, left, tries on an air pack with assistance from A1C Daniel Gough during the second annual middle schools career fair at the Goldsboro YMCA on Tuesday. Hundreds of seventh-graders from public, private and home schools attended the two-day event, which concludes today.

Busloads of seventh-graders converged on the Family YMCA Tuesday for the second annual middle schools career fair.

Once inside, students hesitantly glanced around the room before receiving instructions from their guidance counselors on how to navigate.

Eighty booths lined the walls, with representatives from business and industry across the county poised to share some of the career options for the next generation.

From the typical jobs in health care and law enforcement to an agricultural science booth featuring a live Rhode Island Red chicken and a bomb disposal squad from the Air Force base, there were also booths from area high school academies -- including the Diesel Academy at Southern Wayne and Engineering Academy at Charles B. Aycock.

In turn, students came prepared with a list of options to make good use of their time to gather information.

"When we were growing up, we didn't have this. I think it's great," said Willis Brown of Mount Olive, manning his photography booth at the fair for the first time. "When middle school students come up, they say, 'Take my picture,' so we have photographed everybody. We'll e-mail them to the guidance counselors."

Norwayne Middle School students Mahoganny Hutchings, Kasey Backus and Kayla Watters readily lined up for a picture.

Kasey said she has always been interested in photography, in part because her aunt has her own photography business.

"I have a tiny little camera," Kasey said.

Classmate Kayla envisions a glamorous future in the field, "kind of just travel the world and take different pictures and stuff," she said.

Amber Weaver said she had aspirations of becoming a veterinarian or doing something in the science field, while Liz Romo has narrowed down her areas of interest to becoming a teacher or veterinarian.

"I was gonna kind of walk around and see what people have, see the different careers and stuff," was Liz' strategy for the event.

Guiding her group of students through the maze was Wilma Foote, a teacher at Mount Olive Middle School.

"We have been trying to encourage our kids to check out different careers," she said.

For many, the live chicken at the Wayne Community College booth was a big draw.

"We're showing them what the different stages are from the egg to the chicken and hen," said Sherry Sauls, a student in the college's ag science program. "A lot of kids don't realize where anything comes from."

"They think it comes from the grocery store," chimed in Jennifer Johnson, ag science instructor.

Rusty Aycock and Aaron Hinnant, both from Norwayne Middle, already had an interest in the agriculture field, but still appreciated the booth.

"I liked the big chicken," said Rusty.

"I liked how they showed us where the chicken was at the top and the egg white at the bottom," Aaron said of one of the demonstrations at the booth. "I just like stuff like that."

Another booth that drew a lot of interest was the Air Force explosive ordnance disposal unit.

Probably because of the "Wow" factor, said Staff Sergeant Angelo Giannosa and A1C Justin Beasley.

"We're the military bomb squad, pretty much," Giannosa said. "Mostly we have just some of our training aids out here, just to pique interest."

"They'll see this stuff in video games and come over to us and ask questions," Beasley said.

The two-day event concludes today.

Organizers said it went well, with an estimated 1,400 students from home schools, public and private schools represented.

Sponsored by Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and the Wayne Education Network, it was introduced last year to educate younger students about opportunities available to them beyond graduation.

Business and industry was divided into four categories, said Lori Dubose, chairperson of the event -- human services, education and training, public safety, and government and public administration.

"We learned from last year, perfected the flow of traffic, and we have got so many careers represented, that it's really been great," she said. "We have some (business) folks that are attending both days, some that are working one day or the other. We just appreciate people giving what they could."

"I'm thrilled that the veterinarians are here -- Berkeley Veterinary Clinic and River Bend Swine Consultants," added Janet Brock of the Chamber of Commerce.

"That's something that students requested last year from the surveys," Ms. Dubose explained. "We also have cosmetology represented this year that we didn't before, Bonnie and Company, and through Mitchell's Hair Styling Academy and Wayne Community College."

The women also praised volunteers who had helped with setting up, and additional area businesses who had supported the event in other ways, such as providing meals and assisting in the preparatory work.