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Students explore options at Opportunity Expo


Christopher Andersson

Marysville-Pilchuck High School students Hanna Koehn, center, and Danika Loucks, left, talk with Central Washington University admissions counselor Sidney Lim at the Marysville School District's Opportunity Expo on Feb. 27.

The Marysville School District held their sixth annual Opportunity Expo career and college fair to help local juniors explore their options after graduation.

This year's expo was held on Feb. 27.

The event is held on the Everett Community College campus and students from local high schools are driven down to the college for the event.

"We had over a thousand kids here this morning ... that's been really exciting and the energy has been great," said Jodi Runyon, executive assistant to the superintendent at the district and one of the main organizers of the event.

In addition to Marysville, the Lakewood and Mukilteo school districts also had students stop by for the event.

The expo is meant to help juniors consider their options.

"We want them to start thinking now about what they need to plan for for the rest of their junior year and senior year," said Runyon.

"If they're planning on going to college, they need to start thinking about that," she said.

In addition to four-year and two-year colleges, there are also a variety of representatives from trade schools and other careers opportunities.

"We recognize that not every student is college-bound, but there are all kinds of tech and trades that they can earn a living wage with," said Runyon.

Katie Berryman, a member service representative from Navy Federal Credit Union, has been to the event six times and said it's usually one of the larger career/college fairs she's attended.

"We've been to many expos, whether their teen expos or ones for adults, and this one gives the teens specific opportunities to reach out to many different colleges and many different businesses in a way that there's no other school district that does it," she said.

Marysville-Pilchuck High School junior Hanna Koehn said that there were a lot of options available at the expo.

"I think it's good. I definitely like finding a lot of interesting businesses," she said. "There are a lot of different colleges here for people to look at."

M-PHS junior Danika Loucks said there were many options there. "It's fun to have a lot of different choices," she said.

Marysville student Jazzlynn Reeves said she enjoyed the hands-on activities, such as the "safety table" from the Structural Engineers Association of Washington. Students could build practice putting structures onto the table and test them on the table, which simulated earthquakes.

Runyon said they try to make sure there are good activities for the students.

"We try and improve it every year by adding more interactive activities for the kids," she said.

This year one of the businesses even brought a drone for the students to test out.

Students are also prepared with what kinds of questions to ask and had to present themselves.

"We get to have really good conversations," said Berryman.

In addition to exposure to career and college options, students can take tours of Everett Community College and their AMTEC manufacturing center.

"Partnering with Everett Community College has been fabulous because they help coordinate with us for all this space," said Runyon.

New this year was also a tour of the Washington State University building that recently opened next to Everett Community College, which Runyon said was exciting.

"As one of our partners Washington State University donated all of the backpacks for the kids," which provided students something to carry all their college and career information in, said Runyon.


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