About 400 Mark Twain Junior High School, Senior High School students pursue potential career paths during career fair

Mark Twain Junior and Senior High School students made strides down their career paths in a career fair in the high school gymnasium Friday Oct. 26.

Counselor Adria Palmer said the fair wrapped up a week of activities designed to help students think about careers they may enjoy. The event included interest inventories, guest speakers and other personalized activities focused on helping determine appropriate paths forward. Students determined which speakers they wished to speak with before the 26 presenters gathered in the gym to visit with about 400 students between sixth and twelfth grades.

Senior Lauren Williams said a Wednesday online test helped her assess her likes and dislikes, including working in groups. Williams is looking forward to a career in medicine, and she said preparing for the event helped her determine which part of the field would be the best fit for her goals, which follow in her mother's footsteps.

“My mom is a nurse, and I wanted to do something along those lines,” she said. “But I didn't know if nursing was for me, so I want to go ahead and become a doctor.”

Fellow senior Lenny Martin said her favorite part of the week was hearing from a speaker who shared her goal of working with children, a field she is enrolled to study at college.

“In one of my classes, we had a speaker who traveled to different countries to become a teacher,” she said. “That really interested me.”

Once the classroom activities were complete, each student prepared to embark on their own path during the fair.

“We tried to offer a variety of opportunities to our kids,” Palmer said. “We had a few local colleges here, but mostly they were professionals from around the area in a plethora of careers. We had people from the hospital and in the medical field, we had people here from the banking industry, an accountant and some entrepreneurs who own their own business.”

Palmer said the variety of presenters on hand offered a wide range of answers and demonstrations for the students to experience.

Additionally, representatives from Ralls County Electric Cooperative, a welder and a lifelong Union member shared presentations about technical careers. Also on hand were officials representing organizations like the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

“We just tried to give our kids a wide variety of people to talk to,” she said. “And there were several businesses that actually did hand out job applications to our kids, so they were looking for summer help or part-time help on the weekends — so kids were actually able to fill out applications or take them home.”

Martin echoed Palmer's comments about how the week's activities and the career fair made a difference for students as they look to their futures.

“I definitely think having a career fair helps us, and lets us see different sights and things we want to do in our future,” she said.

trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com