BENNINGTON — Mount Anthony Union Middle School on Tuesday hosted the first of what is hoped will become an annual Career Fair.
Event coordinator and school counselor Hannah Green said students benefit from starting to think about potential careers in middle school. "I think it's important to help students start thinking about how their education connects to their careers," she said.
Visiting professionals were separated into five categories: Health Sciences; Arts and Communication; Human Services; Business, Management, Marketing, and Technology; and Natural Resources and Agriculture. Students were given a "Career Fair Passport," and had to get stamps from a professional in each category. Green said this was designed to get students outside their comfort zones and talking to people in careers they might not have otherwise considered.
The health sciences tables included nurses from Women's and Children's Services at the Southwest Vermont Medical Center and representatives from At Home Senior Care of Bennington. The arts and communication category included musicians and a representative from Graphitek Inc., a printing and graphic design company from Hoosick Falls. A farmer represented the natural resources and agriculture fields.
Business, management, marketing, and technology was probably the most broadly represented category, featuring representatives from Fastenal, Midas, State Farm, Orvis, the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center, and Keybank. Tracey Wardwell, of Keybank, said students weren't as interested in banking as they were in some of the other careers that were being featured, but she still managed to get their attention. To one student, she asked if he had a savings account. When he said he kept his money in a safe at home, she told him that he could open a savings account and earn interest on the money he deposits. "You can make money with your money," she said.
The student, whose attention had been wandering, at that snapped back to look at Wardwell. "Say what?" he asked, amazed.
The human services careers were also well represented. The Bennington Police Department, Bennington Rescue Squad, Southern Vermont College, a librarian, and the Center for Restorative Justice were included in this category. The Bennington Rescue Squad was represented by Director of Operations Forest Weyen, who demonstrated CPR techniques to interested students. "This is the best Tuesday I've had all week!" he joked, before explaining to students why he had chosen his career. "It's a very rewarding field, you get to give back," he said, "This was a natural calling for me."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.