Deidra Baird, a pharmacist with Walgreens, speaks to Benjamin Russell High School at the career fair Thursday. | Lacey Howell

Archived Story

BRHS hosts annual career fair

Published 11:31am Friday, November 16, 2012

Students at Benjamin Russell High School got a taste of various professions Thursday during the school’s annual career fair.

Forty-eight speakers gave four 20-minute presentations to BRHS students, who rotated to the various classrooms with their advisement, or homeroom, class.

“I think the career fair went very well,” said BRHS Principal Jose Reyes.

Reyes explained that BRHS counselors Kerrie Carr and Richard Burton worked to schedule each of the presenters, who spoke about every profession from engineer to mortician.

“Each presenter talked about what their job is about and what they had to do to meet the qualifications to hold the job they currently have,” Reyes said.

Reyes said the idea is to get similar speakers each year so students can be exposed to all of the professions over their four years at BRHS.

“By the time they graduate, they’ve heard presentations on 16 different professions,” Reyes said. “That’s important overall for the kids because as a ninth grader do you know what you want to do in life? The answer is probably no. This exposes them to a number of fields and gives them more options.”

Presenter Deidra Baird spoke about her profession as a pharmacist.

“I think it went well. Everybody saw some sides of my profession that they didn’t know were options,” Baird said. “A lot of people see pharmacy as a one-way job, and there are a few career options you can take.”

Baird said she enjoyed speaking to the students in a small-group setting so they could ask questions.

Reyes said BRHS had worked to shift the school’s focus from solely preparing students for college to preparing them for college, the workforce or the armed forces.

“We prepare our students as well as anybody for college with our advanced courses, but we wanted to expand the career aspect,” Reyes said. “There are some kids that Alexander City is going to be their home for a long time, and we want them to be here. We want to match their skills to businesses and industries here.”

Reyes said he hopes the career fair will also prompt the students to take actions to get their feet in the door.

“Hopefully an offshoot of this will be that some older students will start contacting individuals they made contact with today and ask, ‘What do I need to do to get in fire school?’ ‘What do I need to do to get into the police academy?’” Reyes said. “That’s what we hope they get out of this.”

As a BRHS alumni, Baird said she was pleased to see the school host the career fair.

“I think the career fair in general is a good idea to give you opportunities to see different careers you might not have known were even there and give you a chance to talk to people in those careers first-hand,” Baird said.