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HCS offers eighth-graders early look at careers

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By Kelly Cantrall

Career fairs are a common event for high school and college students, but Hardin County Schools officials want students contemplating their futures years earlier.

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HCS hosted its second career fair for eighth-grade students Thursday to prepare the students for possible studies at the Early College and Career Center, which opens in August.

Eighth-graders from the five HCS middle schools were taken by bus to Central Hardin High School for an opportunity to talk with representatives from various businesses and fields to gain a sense of what type of career they would like to pursue.

These members of the Class of 2018 are the first group to have the opportunity to go through the entire college and career readiness program. It starts with the first courses in their selected pathway they take at their home school, followed by attending classes at the center off University Drive during their junior and senior years.

Now that they’ve seen various offerings at the fair, students have an opportunity to sit down with an adviser to select a pathway and begin scheduling classes for the next year.

This year’s fair was structured differently by allowing students to move around to all the booths, instead of just a few they selected prior to the event. Dan Robbins, principal of the college and career center, wanted students to be able to take in as much information as they could.

“Let them experience it all,” Robbins said.

Dominik Barrick, a student at J.T. Alton Middle School, liked the sneak peek the fair provided.

“We see what we’re going to be doing in high school,” Barrick said. “We’re getting a head start.”

Sarah Flury, who attends North Middle School, also is excited to get a preview of future careers through the college and career center.

“I think it’s good that we have the opportunity to actually do something (at the center) before we actually do it (as a career),” Flury said.

The fair featured several new businesses including Cecilia Farm Service, which showcased a variety of careers in agriculture.

“I think that kids think that ag is just farming,” said Devan Gaddie, marketing and advertising specialist for Cecilia Farm Service.

The students were surprised to find it can lead to fields such as veterinary science.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the response to it,” Gaddie said.

Shawna Broyles, director of digital marketing for Heartland Communications, said she wanted to highlight the ever-changing career market.

“When I was in high school, my career didn’t exist at all,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.