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Gabrielle Jansen / The Outlook Benjamin Russell's Navy JROTC challenged eighth graders to do push ups for giveaways.

Benjamin Russell Navy JROTC students challenged visitors to do pushups, robotics students flew drones and consumer science students casually held baby dolls while talking to others at the school’s annual World of Works event Wednesday.

The event is a chance for eighth-graders and underclassmen to look into the school’s career technical education programs. The eighth-graders also did a scavenger hunt based on their career field interests, according to Benjamin Russell principal Dr. Anthony Wilkinson.

“(The program students are) out selling their academies to younger students to get them thinking (about what) they want to do after high school,” Wilkinson said.

The school has held the exposition for six years.

“Our academies have exploded with enrollment (in) our medical domain: those going in sports medicine, occupational therapy, (registered nursing) and even going into medicine and pharmacy,” Wilkinson said. “That has exploded, and then our (manufacturing, engineering and technology) academy that is robotics engineering and construction has also taken off.”

The Leadership Lake Martin Class of 2020 also attended the event as part of its class on education. The class toured BRHS and sat in on classes.

“It gives an opportunity for us to expose the ninth-, the 10th-and the eighth-graders all the stuff we offer here but also let our business leaders know we have a lot of pathways here and any way they can help us in any way to help us build our next workforce is much appreciated,” Wilkinson said.

Leadership Lake Martin members later went to the media center and filled out a survey for the school on what they think businesses will need in the future and interviewed students who will help with mock interviews in the spring.

“I love all the information that we’ve been given (Wednesday) by the teachers and by the principal and the openness and the creativity of the students,” Leadership Lake Martin board member Tammy Jackson said. “My children when they were in high school would have loved to have access to things like this.”

Leadership Lake Martin student Rhonda Saunders saw students use skills they learned in the classroom at the event.

“You can tell there’s a lot of energy here and the students are very engaged and they seem to be very excited to be here,” Saunders said.

The Navy JROTC had visitors do pushups to win free items such as cups and pens. Instructor Ben Smith said the booth had a lot of visitors due to the swords and guns on display.

“They’re doing things I couldn’t do and presenting to these kids so they’re awesome,” Smith said. “This really is one of our main recruiting tools.”

Family and consumer science student Madison Fuller helped run a booth on event planning and held a baby doll to display a baby shower. She said the program has different levels for each grade and includes having Open Door Wednesday where students dress professionally for visitors.

“It’s kind of a struggle to know what (family and consumer science is) supposed to be because there’s a lot that goes into it,” Fuller said. “You have to cook the food, set up for the food, figure out what kind of food you’re going to go for and stuff like that but we’ve had a pretty good interest.”

Robotics teacher Anthony Hart said his class’ booth had a lot of students visit as drones and items from 3d printers were on display.

Studio arts student Sydney Vardaman told visitors about the multiple techniques the class does such as photography, painting and sculpting. 

“We do lots of fun stuff like right now we did portraits of ourselves,” Vardaman said. “We had to take a picture of ourselves and we had to put it on a grid and we drew it all out and we had to learn how our shading went and everything like that.”

Vardaman said the event went well and she became interested in studio arts after visiting the booth herself when she was in eighth grade.

“That’s what got me into it when I went to middle school,” Vardaman said. “I went to this booth and I really didn’t think I was going to go into art but they made it seem really fun and it really was fun and now I’m in Visual Arts 2 and I’ve been taking it for two years.”