For Magnolia Middle School 8th graders, high school is just one summer away, and for the fourth year in a row these students are being exposed to various careers within the community through a career fair at the Velma Young Center. “Right now is the ideal time for them to start thinking about what it is they want to do. They actually start earning high school credits here in the 8th grade. So, once they enter 9th grade, they’re already entering it with high school courses that will go towards their education,” said Renee Smith, who is a counselor at the school.
One student in particular has her mind set on becoming a doctor, or, joining the military. “Mainly the hard work that the Marines and National Guard do—I can tell that they’re really dedicated, and they just put everything aside to help the United States. They just love helping people and serving people, you know?” said 8th grader Aaliyah Willis.
Through these various vendors, students are exposed to what Meridian has to offer to them in the future. “This right here kind of sets in reality. They get to thinking, ‘OK, I need to get my mind right because I’m now about to enter into high school, and before I know it, I’ll be in the real world.’ So, I think it’s more about reality,” Smith. “I’ve learned that there is a lot of work done in Meridian with different jobs and stuff. It takes your own dedication towards that job to really help and advance in your career,” said Willis.