Photo Gallery | Freshman Career Fair at Taconic High School
PITTSFIELD — Sitting on a folding chair in front of a table set up in Taconic High School's gymnasium, Realtor Andy Perenick patiently answered questions from inquisitive students.
"My goal is to help you guys answer your own why," Perenick said, responding to one curious ninth-grader.
Perenick was one of 24 representatives of different occupations who took part in the annual Freshman Career Fair at Taconic on Wednesday morning.
Over 300 ninth-graders who attend the Pittsfield public schools — 200 from Pittsfield High School and 140 from Taconic — spent three 10-to-15 minute sessions speaking with representatives of three careers that they might be interested in. Each school's students participated in a separate 90-minute session.
The career choices ranged from mechanical engineering to the performing arts; from clinical psychology to auto body; from news and media to law enforcement. The students picked the careers they were interested in ahead of time, and spent the session rotating between tables.
Pittsfield High School freshmen Madison Quinn and Gage Williams picked the same three careers: clinical psychology, social work and physical therapy.
"I find it real beneficial because it shows me what I need to work on," Madison said.
The idea behind the event was to give first year high school students an early opportunity to experience a career path they might be interested in pursuing after they graduate, said Tammy Gage, the student services facilitator for Pittsfield Public Schools.
"Something they may not have thought of before," Gage said. "And, (it helps) remove the myth of some of these jobs that they'd like to get into because they have concerns about the education level needed or they don't have enough information.
"It starts them thinking about what high school classes do [they] need to take that are important for a postsecondary education beyond high school," she said.
The youngsters prepared questions for the career representatives beforehand, and will be required to write a paper on their experiences.
"Maybe something I say is just enough to spark something down the road," Perenick said.
Many youngsters attended the session wearing ties. Gage said the youngsters were urged to "dress for success."
"They are told to come and act professionally," she said.
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.