In a unique partnership, representatives of the Marysville Noon Rotary, Tulalip Tribes, and the Marysville School District worked together for months to plan and implement a dynamic College, Career, and Work Expo for all 11th grade students enrolled in the Marysville School District on April 17.
Students were bused from each of the eight high schools in the district to one of two morning sessions at the Tulalip Resort Casino, and the event was open to all families in the community during the early evening hours. Special workshop presentations covered topics ranging from financial aid applications to technical school opportunities.
"The district's goals include preparing every student for college and career," explained Jodi Runyon, assistant to Superintendent Larry Nyland and chair of the ad hoc planning committee. "The premise of the Expo was to provide opportunities for students to learn more about their future, whether they choose college, career, the workforce or other options after high school."
Over 150 representatives were on hand to answer students' questions. Two- and four-year colleges, tech and trade schools, trade unions, local businesses, employers, and military branches shared information about their unique opportunities and requirements. Broadening the focus beyond just schools and careers, community service and volunteer experiences were also represented.
At a pre-Expo gathering, Tim Root, who is employed by the Tulalip Tribes' Higher Education department, said, "I've never seen anything like this. I wish I had something like this when I was in high school, so I could have understood my options better."
"There are still good jobs available out there with one or two years of college or tech school," said Dr. Sue Longstreth, director of Career and Technical Education with the Marysville School District. "This is intended to reach all students and their parents so they can be aware of the opportunities."
Dave Rose, principal of Marysville Getchell's School for the Entrepreneur (SFE), noted that his school had been doing a similar program, but with a much smaller footprint.
"We were doing really good things for a small amount of kids," said Rose. "This event lets us broaden our reach and make more of an impact."
Chris Nation had multiple reasons to root for the Expo's success. In addition to being a small business owner (Marysville Printing), Nation is also president of the Noon Rotary and president of the Marysville School Board.
"We need to show kids that we care about their future, that we want them to succeed," said Nation. "It's great to share our experiences with them-the successes and challenges-so young people can develop reasonable expectations and see the big picture."
In addition to a chance to talk one-on-one with businesses, colleges and trade affiliations, the Opportunity Expo featured several "big picture" presentations during the evening session. Anneleise Vance-Sherman, a regional labor economist with WorkSource Snohomish County, was joined by Tulalip Tribes chairman Mel Sheldon and the City of Marysville's chief administrative officer, Gloria Hirashima, for a look at future opportunities and job growth in Snohomish County.
Prior to participating in the Expo, students were encouraged to use materials provided by Junior Achievement to develop a "personal action plan" that included a resumé and skills assessment.
"This is about building dreams for the future," said Superintendent Larry Nyland. "It's a weaving together of efforts from several directions to make sure our students are prepared for success."
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