The scent of curiosity loomed in the air, the eagerness of students was near palpable. Myself along with a crowd of other students arrived for the April 11 fieldtrip early, awaiting what educational opportunities this morning would bring us. This intrigue would carry our group of thirty-some sophomores to the photo-lined corridors of Lakeshore Technical College.
Sunglasses sat atop the rows upon rows of folding chairs, as a gift. Crowded in the assembly room of LTC, we patiently waited for the start, chatting about what we looked forward to most. Our conversations were put to a halt as two Acuity HR employees, whose company was one of several sponsors, opened with a poem about the exciting realm of the private sector. Focus quickly shifted to the conclusion brought on by the event director who dismissed us by career interest groups to our first session of soul-searching and hand raising.
I was off to room 147 for the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources session hosted by three enthusiastic men. An employee of the USDA, the first presenter introduced us to the world of government assistance and oversight in the realm of private farming. I couldn’t help but ponder how local farms have benefited from these programs as well as our environment. Following his presentation was a man who had traveled the nation with his fertilizer business. I had never in my life seen someone so energetic towards efficient farming; it was infectious.
Our session closed with an invigorating speech from a non-profit employee whose goal is to popularize urban farming in Sheboygan. With a shake of the hand he handed me a brochure for their organization and I was on my way. While I may have learned that farming isn’t for me, nonprofit work might be. On my walk through the hall I overheard another student gushing about the presentations we’d just seen, completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities this field held and that she would have to choose just one.
Passing the IDEAS physics teacher, I exclaimed with a vigor not far from that of Bill Pullman in Independence Day, ”Non-profit work had never crossed my mind before, I’m definitely going to look into it more.”
Locking eyes with my next destination, the large lecture room filled with experts in performing arts and telecommunications, I felt my feet whisk my body across the halls of LTC. I plopped into my seat, game face on, ready to discuss everything from simple educational information to elaborations on the job experience. The highlight of this session would come in the form of a question-response from the local voice of Sheboygan radio as well as the Sheboygan Press Top Editor who stated that the best activities and classes to pursue in high school were forensics, drama club, creative writing, writing for publication, scriptwriting, and acting. All of these opportunities were offered at IDEAS. Never before have I felt such excitement and ardor to shoot my hand up high in the air to hear professionals gush over celebrities and other oddballs they had the pleasure of working with in their glamorous field of 21st-century journalism, radio, and film.
The bus ride home was filled with talk about the sessions we had witnessed and the multitude of aspirations that now seemed attainable.
“Career Connections plays an important role in the academic and career planning process for approximately 1400 Sheboygan County tenth graders each year. This career exploration event allows each student to attend two, 50-minute sessions from career representatives.” —from the Sheboygan County Chamber, business.sheboygan.org