In the Spotlight
Career Canival at Lebanon High School

by Lauren Hoehlein, UVBEP Intern

On October 24, 2001, Lebanon High School held its first annual Career Carnival. Designed for juniors in high school, the program allowed the students to see first hand the variety of careers and opportunities available to them following their education. This event was made possible with a seed grant from the Mascoma Savings Bank Foundation and the support of several generous sponsors (see below). It was coordinated through the hard work of two creative and dedicated individuals: Lebanon High School teacher, Andrew Gamble, and Lebanon High School junior, Alice Farnham. After spending the summer working closely with UVBEP, they were able to coordinate an event such as the career carnival, showing just how interrelated the worlds of business and education really can be, and showing how students benefit from exposure to horizons beyond those of the typical high school experience.

The day was broken into three sessions, with a third of the junior class spending two out of their eight periods attending the carnival. Within each section there were two main portions of the program: the career booths and the workshops. For a third of the time, the students were free to explore a medley of booths set up by businesses. Set up in a fair like setting, the students could spend as much time as they liked at the booths that interested them talking with the representatives about their own careers and experiences. The second two thirds of the program consisted of an assortment of workshops that the students had previously selected, with each student attending two workshops. The workshops were presentations, lectures, or demonstrations put on by a variety of people on topics ranging from creating your own career to writing a book. While the booths gave a sampling of specific career options to students, the workshops allowed them to truly interact with the presenters in an open, discussion type setting.

Tom Monteleone led a workshop called "Writing for Life" based on his experiences as a well-known published author. Monteleone stated, "I enjoy it [speaking with students] very much because it's a challenge to communicate to students how satisfying it is to make your living as a writer." He sat in a circle with the students, and led them in a frank discussion of what writing meant to him and how he arrived at his accomplishments. He talked about how important he felt it was for young people to follow their dreams and ambitions, regardless of what they might be or of what people might say about them. "My most basic, but most important, message is this: don't let ANYONE kill your dreams for what you want to do in your life. The only person who can stop you from achieving what you want is yourself." From Monteleone's own engaging discussion, to the table covered with his published works, the students were able to see a dream actually realized and tangibly placed before them.

Alice Farnham, being both a coordinator of the event and a student herself, was able to get a unique perspective on attitudes prior to the event and on the overall outcome of the day. "Prior to the carnival, students weren't very informed, but showed both interest and opposition. After the event, I received both positive and negative feedback, but much more positive. Many students learned a lot about careers they hadn't previously considered. Some became further informed about jobs that already interested them. Others learned about their options, and are now better equipped to plan for the future." She felt that the event was an overall success, allowing the students to learn a lot about what their futures could hold in store for them, and more importantly, what they could do now to prepare for these paths. She herself learned quite a bit in the process of planning and organizing such a large scale educational event: "During the planning of the carnival, I learned what is required to communicate with large numbers of businesses. I learned about everything from formatting letterhead and business letters to sending out mass mailings. I learned much more than I had expected to." This further exemplifies how valuable an experience it can be for a student to work with a business, thus showing the need for events such as the career carnival to open the lines of communication between the world of business and the world of education.

This year's career carnival was the first of its kind in the Upper Valley, and UVBEP hopes to extend the practice to other schools next year. Kathi Terami, the Executive Director of UVBEP, said, "The purpose of this original pilot was to test the concept of a career carnival at one high school with a limited group of participants with the intention of eventually offering a regional career carnival to all UVBEP Partner High Schools." Students need information not only about the requirements for entry-level positions, but also career pathway possibilities, education requirements for further opportunities, financial and educational planning, and job seeking skills. Ultimately, this event allowed the students to see the opportunities available to them after high school or college. They may have a better idea of what subject areas they would like to focus on, and what skills they need to master to attain the jobs and careers they would one day like to possess.

Career Carnival Sponsors
GOLD

Mascoma Savings Bank Foundation
Lebanon High School

SILVER

Geographic Data Technology
Pepsi Bottling Group

BRONZE

Bagel Basement
Bouyea-Fasetts
Blood's Seafood, Catering and Party Rentals
Hypertherm, Inc.
Price Chopper
Ramunto's Sicilian Pizzeria
Shaw's Supermarkets
Sony Theaters

 

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