Workers of all sorts descended this week on Cortez Middle School for the school’s second career fair.
The fair allowed students to meet people employed in a variety of professions. Participants gave students the real talk – the pros and cons of their respective professions, required schooling and salary prospects.
Eighth-grade counselor Robyne Cote started the fair last year to inspire students to think about their futures.
“The main purpose became just to introduce them to as many different options as we could and find different careers that represent all different levels of education, income, workday, etc. – and try to make sure that kids who are not college bound, or think they are not college bound know that there are options for them to make good livings,” she said.
When Cote went to the middle school last year, she noticed a lot of apathy among the eighth-grade students – a lack of vision and aspirations.
“I started to think if we could introduce them to different types of careers that they could relate to in real life – then they may start to think more about their futures and hopefully work and plan a little more accordingly,” she said.
She added that she wanted to give students a picture of what dream jobs actually entail.
This year, after hours of CMAS testing, eighth-grade students rotated between rooms for 20-minute chats with community members with jobs in law, catering, automotive, firefighting and other fields.
In Toni Broughton’s science classroom on Tuesday afternoon, mechanic Thomas Comisky took students through the advantages of a college degree, the pros and cons of specializing, and the value of on-the-job learning.
“Don’t be afraid to work,” he said. “When you guys get into high school, and you have the whole summer off, go out there and find a part-time job or find somebody that owns an auto shop who needs somebody to come in and help them. You can learn so much by being there.”
A predominant theme of Tuesday’s fair was the wide variety of choice and opportunity within any arena – the idea that students should seek their own interests within a particular field, be it health care or the U.S. Forest Service.
Kanto McPherson, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Montezuma-Cortez High School, spoke of the wide-ranging possibilities in her field.
“You don’t have to be a teacher like I am. You can work in a hotel, you can work in tourism. You can work in child care. ... Within family and consumer science ... you have a lot of opportunities.”