In opening remarks at the Career Fair, held Tuesday, May 3 at the Mineral County High School gym, Principal Mike Domagala challenged every young person to visit every career booth and to freely ask questions as they met with the many professionals attending. Ed Pearce, a reporter with KOLO channel 8 in Reno, then gave a down-to-earth pep talk about seeking out a profession which would fulfill an area of something they love and would enjoy.
“A career is a choice that will carry you for many years – it’s more than just making money. Your career should be one that you look forward to each and every day,” Pearce shared.
Once the upper grade students had an initial overview, they were separated to different locations. The Arlo Funk District gym was utilized to present a unique program called Bite of Reality. This program was funded by the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation and was brought to the career fair by Financial Horizons Credit Union. With over ten stations, set up with at least two volunteers, each table was a shopping stop, bank or a family necessity in which the students had to visit.
The students were given professional folders, with a calculator attached and budgeting sheets along with a check book. Each folder contained a profile of who they were, highlighting if they were married, had children, careers and a monthly income along with existing debts. It soon became less of a make believe exercise and more of a challenge, as the students realized how quickly their monthly income vanished due to normal living expenses and debt.
“We had to take our income and make a monthly budget work. First I went to the credit union and paid off my credit debt with one check, but I should’ve made payments because it made me short money in the end. I also had school debt showing, and had to get a place to live and transportation, so it was really tough,” Morgan Price admitted.
“I was an attorney making great money, with a wife that was a sales clerk. But we had a baby and I wanted electronics and some nice furnishings – oh and I had school loans too. It was hard to get what I wanted and still budget $500 a month for the baby stuff. I even bought the kid used clothing but kids are expensive,” stated Reeves Neumann, an off campus 15 year old student. “I may want to be an attorney, but now I’ve decided no kids.”
The high school gym was a transformation into a professional convention venue, allowing the students to approach a large variety of fields in which they had interest or questions about. Many students visited the law enforcement booths, the various military sectors, construction, farming and other mainstream opportunities. There were Nevada colleges on hand with materials to consider course majors and campus lifestyles, while the Career Training Education classes had all of their trifold career information posters with brochures available for browsing.
The Department of Corrections table brought a fair amount of interest from the students as there was a display of inmate weaponry, creatively made from everyday objects but honed into “shanks” and some well hidden ideas for storing their weapons such as a hollowed out roll of toilet paper.
The entire exhibition, sponsored by the schools Career Training Education department was a true success as it was embraced by students, adults, teachers, parents and the many companies which came to participate.