Soroco High School art teacher Jody Elston participated in Greg Block's charcoal drawing exercise with freshman Erick Rivera.

Photo by Ben Ingersoll

Soroco High School art teacher Jody Elston participated in Greg Block's charcoal drawing exercise with freshman Erick Rivera.

College Career Day at Soroco High School gives students crash course in various opportunities


— Before his lesson plan ramped up in the school’s art room, guest presenter and Soroco High School alumnus Greg Block reminded the students to be open to all possibilities when picking a career path.


Guest presenter and Soroco High School alumnus Greg Block shows some of his artwork to the students sitting in on his presentation during the school's College Career Day on Thursday.


Scientist Liz Johnson woke up the room with her chemistry exercise Thursday, blowing up balloons with various gases, including hydrogen.

Block is a professional artist and spent the day hosting Soroco students in his breakout session, “Becoming an Artist,” during the third annual College Career Day. He was one of a number of presenters during the daylong event, during which every student had a chance to heed his advice and explore career and educational opportunities.

Breakout sessions ranged from jobs in meditation and nursing to construction management and early childhood education, with plenty in between. Along with career presenters, students had a chance to get information on college and military options, including Colorado State University, Colorado Mountain College, the U.S. Army and the National Guard.

Soroco counselor Lisa Omori, who does much of the planning and scheduling for College Career Day, said things have changed since the event’s inception. Omori now issues surveys to high school students during the planning stages to gauge their interests in careers and life after high school.

Omori said Soroco students have felt a significant push to look at college options in the past four to five years. But given current economic hardships, she is taking a slightly different approach to College Career Day.

“Personally, I’m trying to take a step back from that,” Omori said. “I realize the job market is really more conducive now to tech certificates and more one-year and two-year programs they can get in immediately, rather than having a four-year degree in something like English.”

So Omori uses those survey results to find out what students might be interested in when high school is over and to schedule professionals in those areas to talk with the students.

Down the hall from Block’s presentation, students got a crash course on what it takes to be a personal trainer.

Even farther down the hall in math teacher Maggie Bruski’s room, scientist Liz Johnson demonstrated a chemistry exercise by exploding balloons filled with various gases, including hydrogen.

And in a school like Soroco, where an National FFA Organization flag hangs proudly on the gymnasium wall, the agricultural breakout sessions were among the most attended.

Senior Ashley Johnson is on the verge of leaving high school, and College Career Day is helping her with her post-graduation plan. A self-proclaimed agriculture lover, Johnson intends to enroll at Northeastern Junior College and then transfer to CSU.

She agreed with Omori that the idea of college is spreading among Soroco upperclassmen, but she is confident in her goals.

“If they really need some sort of college or career information, this kind of stuff is actually pretty good,” Ashley Johnson said. “All of mine are just mainly agricultural because I really like it. I have just always been that way since I can remember.”

The list of options is growing every year, too. Omori said she has about 60 professionals on her contact list for the event. That part has taken hours of work, she said, but getting the students focused on what they want to do for the rest of their lives is a challenge, as well.

“I’d say the students are looking at it more seriously, but it still takes awhile, developmentally, to even be in a place even thinking about it,” Omori said. “They’d rather be thinking about prom right now. It’s a hard push to get the message across.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

Join the Yampa Valley VIP email club

Yampa Valley VIP


Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

"... rather than having a four-year degree in something like English.”

An English degree is hardly a waste. There aren't too many jobs needing expertise on particular authors, but topics like linguistics translate to highly employable skills.

A job training major such as computer science often lacks the breadth of knowledge to fully apply the taught skills. So the people in the top computer jobs are quite often people with additional skills such as linguistics, mathematics or so on.

The absolute worse choice is to study just for a job because if you don't like the work then it is terribly hard to do it for very long and a career in something less soul crushing becomes needed.


rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

I've got a different song to sing... my Communications degree, Mass Media emphasis, Psychology minor, and a buck, won't get me a cup of coffee at McDonald's. There just ain't a lot of Mass Media in this town, and here is where the delusions of stardom stopped, as I decided to quit chasing that career. The folks were weird, if nothing else.

Fortunately I already knew computers and landed a gig that started with some OJT. Even still, my military certificates can hardly compete with a college degree; my step brother with a degree in Computer Engineering from ASU stepped out of college into $90K with Motorola. The School of Hard Knocks degree is virtually worthless.

My advice to students would be, unless you are gifted with extraordinary artistic or athletic talent, forget stardom, the competition is intense, English jobs are also scarce, and stick with the sciences: Math, chemistry, biology, physics, electronics, mechanical engineering, computer engineering -- ANY engineering -- that's where the future is at.


Scott Ford 3 years, 5 months ago

Lisa & Group -

Thanks for the invitation to participate in South Routt High School’s “Career Day”. In both of the sessions I hosted - I found the students engaged and very respectful. This was a very good group of young adults that are actively looking beyond the here and now to the future.

I am looking forward to next year!


jerry carlton 3 years, 5 months ago

Rhys Good advice. It was good advice 51 years ago when I started college and is still good advice. Think there is going to be Nuggets action tonight on ESPN. One win to get to 500. A big one Sunday night. Hope Peyton's ankles hold up and our offensive line.


rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

Yeah Jerry, I wasted my degree; once I bailed on law (the debate circuit making me recognize the whorish aspect of that profession) I allowed myself to become distracted by the fun of a TV camera on my shoulder, leading to dreams of the back road to Hollywood -- while I should have stuck with computers and electronics, something I enjoy, and I could have gotten the pigskin to go with it.

C'est la vie, right? It was TV that brought me to this town, so I can't complain.

Go Nuggets!! Watching them beat the Lakers the other night was fun -- so what if Kobe was out -- so was Javale, Gallo, who else...

When is Ryan Clady coming back? He's got Peyton's back side, normally.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.