KEARNEY — Kearney High School was hive of activity earlier this month as industry leaders, educational programming experts and the military provided sophomores and juniors a glimpse at possible career paths while throwing in a bit of entertainment during a high school career expo.
Industries on hand included banking, journalism, real estate, emergency response, aviation and insurance in addition to school opportunities that bolster science, technology, engineering and math studies such as Northland CAPS, Northland Career Center and KC Tech Academy.
“It’s been really fun and an interesting full day,” said event organizer and High School Career Readiness Coordinator Beth Freeman. “... We actually have three sections set up. We have the Army in the old gym, a magician in the auditorium and the expo going on in the new gym. I wanted students to see a mix of industry partners and things available for sophomores and juniors to do next year.”
Freeman said she planned the event on the day she did because seniors were out completing college visits, job shadowing and service projects and other students had a full morning of testing.
“We wanted to give the kids a bit of a brain break but also something that could give them very basic information on a possible job or career path,” she said during the expo. “It’s been really good. I thought we might have some issues where kids were timid or shy to walk up to the tables, but it’s been great. They’ve been good about moving around and see what there is.”
Junior Payton Robertson said she received good information from the Northland CAPS table.
“It was really informative. Yes, it is something I am going to go into. It gives you a good head start to college and career,” she said. Northland CAPS is a profession-based learning approach where students are immersed in the business community and participate in real projects using industry standard tools.
Tristan Crane, a Northland Career Center student, said he had a good response from students who were interested in the electrical and engineering components he was demonstrating at the expo. The career center provides a two-year, dual-credit program towards an associate’s degree or certification in a variety of industries related to manufacturing including heating and cooling, welding, computer-aided design and millwright work.“I’ve had about 15 or 20 or so,” he said of interested visitors.
ReeceNichols agent Brian Freeman said he was surprised at the genuine interest in real estate and the questions he received from students.
“There’s been a lot of interest in interior design and staging,” he said. “It was interesting to see so many knew about the Parade of Homes and were interested in going through it.” The Parade of Homes from the Home Builders Association of Kansas City features hundreds of new home designs from around the metro area each year. Homes in Kearney were part of featured offerings this year.
Anya Dunn, a Kearney High School junior, was one of those interested in real estate.
“I think it’s be fun to go on the Parade of Homes. I like interior design and like looking at different styles of houses,” she said.
Kearney Trust Co.’s table, located with Freeman’s ReeceNichols spot, was also a popular stop for students as it included a large stack of cash that Chelsea Brammer used to demonstrate how the electronic cash counter worked. Kearney Trust Chief Executive Officer Scott Middleton said he enjoyed chatting with the waves of students.
“It’s been good. The kids seem bright and interested,” he said, adding banking provides a lot of opportunity for people who can begin without much training or education.
“It’s also a good way to get involved and be part of the community,” he said.
Beth said she is happy with the expo overall and hopes to expand it next year to include feedback from students about industries they are interested in and having those industries provide more in-depth presentations.