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September 19, 2014

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Students face their futures at career fair

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Home News

Freshman Jack Heki speaks with Robert Picazo, right, about a career in government administration at the Bureau of Land Management booth during the I Can Be Career Expo hosted by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce at Foothill High School.

I Can Be Career Expo

Foothill freshman Richard Phillips interviews dog trainer Alfredo Rivera, president of Sit Means Sit, during the I Can Be Career Expo hosted by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce at Foothill High School. Launch slideshow »

Foothill High School freshman Ashley Ciciliano is thinking of entering politics, and Thalia Alvarez is leaning toward a career in the kitchen after the I Can Be Career Expo at the school Feb. 18.

Expo organizer Jim Clinton said he hoped all of the students left the event mulling their futures.

"It teaches what people do in professions, so students have a better understanding of real-life scenarios," he said.

The program — in its second year in conjunction with the Henderson Chamber of Commerce — targets freshmen to keep them interested in high school and their futures beyond. Professionals were grouped into 16 different career clusters ranging from art to government, and they offered students a glimpse into their everyday work lives.

Ciciliano listened to advice from former City Councilwoman Amanda Cyphers, who is now running for mayor, and she was considering her college choices.

Cyphers "told me to start volunteering and become active in my neighborhood," Ciciliano said. "I need a lot of persistence.

Alvarez was busy pondering her next path after heading to the Culinary Arts station. She enjoys cooking at home.

"It's really interesting so far," she said. "I need a college degree for everything. There are so many things to decide."

English teacher Jacqueline Joseph initially needed to take two shyer students by the hand as they introduced themselves and visited each station. Later, she said, their confidence grew.

"It teaches them the skills they need," she said. "They think of questions they'd like to ask, such as the education needed, the hours worked and the pay."

Joseph had some prior misgivings about the program, but now considers herself a strong proponent.

"Freshmen have a hard time focusing, but it's spurring internal motivation," she said. "I think it's an excellent tool to get them to think about beyond today."

Marty Power recently went into business for himself as a consultant after working in the insurance and tax industries. He was talking to students about how to open one's own business, telling students to first work for a company in their desired field.

"It's about getting to know people, read people, sell yourself to the public," Power said. "It's all about sales and marketing."

He said he appreciated the chance to have any positive influence after one of his children encountered trouble in high school before righting his academic career.

"It's a chance to give back, turn one or two kids around and get them focused on something," he said. "Save a life, so to speak. You don't always have a chance when they're seniors."

Dave Clark can be reached at 990-2677 or [email protected].

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