ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood High School students learned about careers from the workers in the trenches during a career fair earlier this week.
Covering careers in fields in biology, agriculture, health care, technology, business and the military, speakers gave students real life tips on life as a college student and as an adult.
“We want to give kids as many opportunities to start analyzing careers and what options there are out there for their life,” said Shawn Henderson, EHS principal.
Each speaker had a message for the students.
Charlie Swank, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist, told the students to do what they love.
“I enjoy doing what I’m doing,” he said. “I encourage you guys to do the same thing. Find something you really want to do.
“Do yourself a favor,” said Swank. He added that it took him three years to find a job in his chosen field.
Becca Maxwell, Sunflower Bank, spoke about business. “We hire on attitude,” she said. “Skills can be taught.” The job requires basic math and numbers along with and emphasis on customer service.
She explained the wage range available and possibilities for advancement. Maxwell talked about professionalism in dress and dressing for the job desired even when picking up an application. She also told them to be professional in cell phone messages and reminded students of the long lived life of social media postings.
Also important to business success were character traits of reliability, honesty and a friendly attitude.
Derek Linden graduated in 2004 from EHS and works in diesel engine repair. He talked about the education he received at Pratt Community College. Getting further education made advancement easier in his job field.
Linden said 80 percent of his work is on computer. He added, “Watch your personal life and stay out of trouble.” Getting a DUI could cost him his job since he couldn’t drive.
A 2008 graduate of EHS, Eric Blakeslee works in agronomy. He told the students he had numerous job offers long before he graduated and that he makes good wages.
Blakeslee told the students he still studies in his job. Also, he spoke about the realities of college life and the importance of studying hard and going to class.
Also holding sessions were Kara Brauer, healthcare, and Carl Minnix and Lt. Hatesohl regarding military careers.
Junior Delaney Beckwith found the morning educational. “It makes you look differently. You see how hard life will be later on.”
“College is a lot of work,” Beckwith said. It changed some of her perceptions, particularly about college. Although she doesn’t have concrete career goals now, she said the morning opened up the range more.