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Hopedale - Local Town Pages

Hopedale High Students Explore Wonders of Working World

By Kyle Maloney
On Friday, Jan. 13, the Hopedale Jr-Sr High School held its second annual Career Fair for Freshmen and Sophomore students. 
Juniors Kyle Maloney, Camden Parker, and William Adamski (Pictured), organized the Fair under the guidance of Talitha Oliveri, one of Hopedale’s business educators and the advisor of Hopedale DECA.
The Career Fair provided Hopedale High’s underclassmen with much needed career insight and information through networking and panel discussions with various industry professionals. It also provided students with soft skills through workshops and simulated professional interviews.
The main Career Fair event featured industry booths representing 16 different career clusters, where students could network with over 35 community volunteers and experts to be educated on their respective careers. 
Participants were able to ask questions and interact with volunteers at each booth to spark interest in a career, and, more importantly, learn how to pursue that career and better understand the qualifications and pathways to different occupations. 
Along with the industry booths, over 100 mock interviews were conducted, which simulated a professional interview setting and exposed participants to a real-life application of soft skills. These interviews, conducted by student volunteers, increased students’ confidence and professional capabilities through feedback received based on their performance in the interview. This feedback identified strengths and opportunities for development in the underclassmen’s interactions, and provided insight as to how to become more comfortable in a professional interview environment.
The last activity that took place at the Fair was the Executive Panel, where five volunteers from different backgrounds and occupations spoke about their professional lives and the pathways that led them to where they are today. Guided by moderator Camden Parker, open-ended questions were asked to prompt answers that would benefit a younger audience and provide them with guidance and information to aid them after high school, whether they directly enter the workforce or attend college. Students also had the opportunity to pose their own questions to the Panel. 
To organize the Career Fair, the team received a $3,000 sponsorship from the Innovation Pathways Program at Hopedale Jr-Sr High School. Signage and other materials were purchased to brand the Career Fair and help students easily navigate the event to ensure it ran smoothly. 
The Career Fair was a great success. After the event, student and volunteer feedback was gathered to gauge event effectiveness. Over 95% of students indicated they can apply the professional skills gained in the Mock Interviews, 91% of students better understood the qualifications needed to pursue their career interest, and 100% of students found a career path that interested them. All of the volunteers indicated they enjoyed participating at the Fair and were prepared to speak at the event. 
As put by Molly Parent, a Backlog Manager at Dell Technologies who volunteered at the Career Fair, “I loved the set-up, super professional and well laid out. I think this is such a great opportunity for students to get out of their comfort zone so early on and potentially explore career paths they may be interested in.” 
The Career Fair team would like to thank the Innovation Pathways Program at Hopedale High for sponsoring the Career Fair. The event would not have been possible without them!
Additionally, they would like to thank Superintendent Karen Crebase and Principal Derek Atherton.  
Special thanks to Ms. Oliveri for her commitment as a DECA Advisor and business educator, and her guidance and help in organizing the Career Fair. Without her, the event would not have been such a success.