On Tuesday, I attended Career Industry Days at the fairgrounds. This annual event is held by the Merced County Office of Education's Career and Alternative Education Department. As an adjunct instructor representing Merced College's Administrative Office Program, my colleagues and I had the pleasure of speaking with many of the 850 sophomores about their goals and aspirations for the future.
We met students from most of the county's high schools. Some said they'd like to pursue livelihoods as veterinarians and nurses. Students were uncertain about which college they would attend. This knowledge gave us the opportunity to provide guidance on the programs available at Merced College.
The future veterinarians were able to watch a live ultrasound image of a pregnant goat's twin kids at Merced College's animal science exhibit. There was a veterinary science exhibit, and most of these students said they were headed to UC Davis to achieve their degree.
One young lady expressed her desire to be a neonatal nurse. I was able to share an example with her about a family friend who graduated from the nursing program as a registered nurse, and is working as a neonatal nurse at Mercy Medical Center.
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Many students wanted to know what classes to take in high school to prepare them for college. As instructors of the Business Division, we advised them to enroll in any and all computer classes. High school students are able to enroll in college courses. We encouraged them to contact counselors at their high school as well as the college for more information.
Walking around the buildings, I was impressed with the numbers of vendors who attended the event. More than 15 educational institutions and numerous businesses from throughout the Central Valley were present. The students were given a vast amount of information about opportunities available close to home.
I was especially drawn to the young entrepreneurs who were representing their high schools. These students exhibited a high level of professionalism. There was a continual crowd around Merced High School's ROP fashion computer exhibit. Dressed for success, Donna Acheson's students presented their program with confidence and pride.
The smell of freshly baked cookies led me to the DECA club from Merced High School. According to the website, "DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe." The club members were baking and selling Otis Spunkmeyer cookies as a fundraiser. Sharply dressed and confident, these students expressed enthusiasm and passion about being a part of this international organization. It is obvious to me that this club has excellent leadership and I am eager to share this information with the CEO Club. Working with the DECA club would be an excellent opportunity for our club to network with the younger entrepreneurs in our area.
I would like to thank all of the students who stopped by our table and chatted with us. Based on our communication with all of you, we look forward to being your teachers, your patients, bringing our animals to your office for treatment and patronizing your businesses in the years to come.
Cynthia Blackmore is editor of Merced College's Blue Devil Report and a continuing transfer student at the college.