Oak Creek 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.
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 bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll
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