Students with no firm plans for what to do after high school surely left the Mojave Crossing Event Center with a few ideas on Thursday.
The Colorado River Union High School District’s College and Career Expo featured about 100 vendors and, as the name implied, catered to both those thinking about work and those who want to continue their schooling.
For the first time in the event’s three years, the spotlight was also on some CRUHSD programs — students from Mohave and River Valley high schools were on hand to give their peers information on the career and technical education and HOSA programs.
The expo was put on by the district’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP).
GEAR-UP coordinators Diane Beardsley and Amber Parker-DeWitt said the idea is to get students thinking early about their options after graduation.
That doesn’t mean a four-year college is for everyone, they said. Thus, a variety of employers were represented, as well as the U.S. military.
In addition to Arizona universities, education options included out-of-state colleges, trade schools and community colleges.
Mohave Community College, which is where many local students will go after high school, had a robust presence. Shawn Bristle, dean of the Bullhead City campus, said that every MCC program was represented on the floor.
Many had hands-on activities that visitors could try. River Sutton, a junior at Lee Williams High School in Kingman, said he is considering going into the medical field.
He enjoyed using a laparoscopic trainer at the MCC surgical technology program booth.
Sutton said he thought it was fun to simulate a procedure without the pressure that comes from having a patient’s health in one’s hands.
“I tried it right-handed,” he said. “It went OK, then I tried it left-handed and it was harder.”
Sutton said that the trip was optional for LWHS students, and that he chose to come because he wanted to learn more about colleges, particularly scholarship options.
All RVHS and Mohave students were slated to attend, Beardsley and Parker-DeWitt said.
River Valley freshman Nick Love said he thought the event would be useful, even for students a few years from graduating. Love said his family members have been encouraging him to start preparing early for college.
“This is clearly an area that is getting students interested in college early,” said Sarah Faulk of Grand Canyon University.
Faulk said that students who visited her table had plenty of good questions about majors, admission requirements and other topics.
She said she was impressed by the inclusion of eighth-graders from area junior high schools. Faulk said this gives visitors the chance to explain to those students that, starting next year, their grades will really matter.
“If you can spark an interest, get them passionate about a subject,” she said, “they can be on a path for success.”
Lisa McCabe of Golden Vertex Corp. said the expo meant an opportunity to talk to students about careers in mining, which are far beyond just jobs as miners.
“We have geology, metallurgy and engineering,” she said, adding that mining firms also employ lawyers, accountants and other professionals.
Capt. Jax Hilton of the Mohave Valley Fire Department said he saw many visitors at his booth, with a nearly equal number of male and female students dropping by.
Many of the booths had giveaways. They included pencils, pens, keychains and plenty of candy.
Students who visited 10 MCC booths (the college counted as one vendor, Parker-DeWitt and Beardsley said) could choose a carabiner, a tumbler or a T-shirt.
The Mohave County Airport Authority gave away plush planes, along with information on various jobs at Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport.
The most serious giveaway: scholarship money. Beardsley said that some organizations bought sponsorships for the event, and that the cash will be awarded next week to the students who do best on an essay about the expo.
She said that organizers are hoping to have more sponsors in future years.
“It’s more impactful to the students to see their community providing more scholarships,” Beardsley said.
Source: Mohave Daily News