Labors of love

By Ian Neligh
Posted 3/8/11

If there had been a motto for the Clear Creek High School career fair on March 2, it could have been, “Do what you love, and love what you do.”

Professionals at more than 49 exhibits …

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Labors of love


If there had been a motto for the Clear Creek High School career fair on March 2, it could have been, “Do what you love, and love what you do.”
Professionals at more than 49 exhibits explained their careers and tried to entice high school and middle school students to consider their lines of work.

Careers from pastry chef to forest ranger to musician to model were represented at the booths lined up in the gymnasium. Representatives from several colleges also attended.
The morning session has about 250 CCHS students roaming the gym, plus the sophomores, juniors and seniors from Gilpin High School.
The interactive nature of the event made it unique. A chef was flipping vegetables in a frying pan, and a pastry chef asked students to put frosting on small cupcakes. Army recruiters had students doing push-ups in exchange for water bottles and T-shirts. Others had displays, giveaways, machinery and slide shows.
High school counselor Mary Smith, who coordinates the career fair, asks the exhibitors to find a way to engage students. She has found over the years that sometimes it takes work to break the ice. Some adults are apprehensive about talking with teenagers, while some teens are shy about walking up to adults to ask questions.
“Sometimes they’re gun-shy on both sides,” Smith said. “I tell (the professionals), ‘Whatever you can bring in that will get them thinking, that’s great.’ ”
And bring things they did. Global Technology Resources, which does contract work for the American military, handed out small rubber hand grenades. The executive chef from the Lodge Casino brought 500 mini-caramel-flans to distribute.
There were also the typical pens, brochures, pins and pamphlets.
The professionals — about 75 in all — had fun speaking with the students, and the students learned about possible career paths.
Genny Fetherston, the pastry chef at the soon-to-open Piece, Love and Chocolate shop in Boulder, said she was trying to intrigue students with the story of her career.
“At my station, nothing’s for free. They have to work to get the cupcakes,” she said as students used frosting bags to decorate the cakes.
At the pharmacy booth, sophomore Alhana Loose was asking questions about the six years of college required to become a pharmacist. She is interested in a pharmacy career because she wants to work in the medical field, but she knows a career like nursing is not for her.
John Fricke from Steamboat Springs, a retired engineer, explained to students how engineering and science fields can open up the world. Fricke lived overseas while working for U.S. companies, and he wants students to think about the possibilities.
He was impressed with the focus of freshman Mason Smith, who wants to be a mechanical engineer. Mason said he wants to help people and better society.
Fricke told him that everyone needs a mechanical engineer to design machinery and infrastructure. He suggested that Mason could refine the area of mechanical engineering he works in as he gets older.
The lawyers brought a large poster explaining 50 things you can do with a law degree besides going to court. The poster listed becoming a screenwriter, negotiator, CIA/FBI agent or director of a charitable foundation.
Junior Aspen Walters spoke with a Barbizon modeling representative about modeling careers. Aspen said she was considering geology, working as a chef or modeling.
“The fact that people express their passion has been interesting,” Aspen said. “I was able to learn about the different qualities and what it takes in the different careers. The experience they have is inspiring me. They aren’t doing their jobs because they have to but because they love what they do.”
Smith was amazed by the different professionals she can draw from in the community.
“Not that we were trying for that,” she said, “but most either live or work fairly close in this community.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at or 303-350-1041. Check for updates.


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