YHS alumni headline Career Day

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Joe Rock with the FBI speaks to Youngsville Middle School students during a career day event on Tuesday.

Sometimes we limit what we’re capable of simply because we don’t look at what’s possible beyond the horizon.

Tuesday’s Career Day at Youngsville High School was designed so that the current crop of Eagles don’t fall prey to that thinking.

That’s because this Career Day had a different look–the presenters were all YHS alumni–coming from a host of professions – willing to share their individuals journeys with the students.

“Obviously we want kids to focus on the next step after 12th,” YHS Principal Amy Beers said.

But she emphasized that the structure of the event was aimed to show “that a rural, small school education is just as valuable as a larger school education. It’s what you do with it. Everyone presenting, (they are) all out there in different professions (and) willing to inspire.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton U.S. Army Col. Mike Mayes speaks to students during a career day event held on Tuesday at Youngsville High School.

“It’s so important to see role models out there doing great things.”

The presenters came from a wide range of professional backgrounds.

U.S. Army Col. Mike Mayes brought representatives from each member of the service while Glenn Smith, current WCSD assistant principal, spoke about their military service.

Joe Rock works with the Los Angeles office of the FBI while Abby Wolfe is an attorney at the University of West Virginia.

Others remained involved in the local community–Nurse Practitioner Kelly Sullivan; Scott Nelson, a funeral home director and the mayor of Youngsville; Youngsville Chief of Police Todd Mineweaser; the school nurse, Julie Eckstrom, who discussed working as a flight nurse; Greg Sanford with the U.S. Forest Service; Rob Cummings; Melissa Sproveri discussing travel and tourism; Jeremy Blum from the business world and Jen Tutmaher who works for the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College.

imes Observer photo by Josh Cotton Melissa Sproveri talked travel and tourism experiences with high school students during a career day event on Tuesday at Youngsville High School.

Several current teachers and school district administrators were among the presenters as well.

The experiences and advice imparted in this format would be tough for students to experience any other way.

“College is not a fit for everyone,” Nelson said. “We need people do to things with their hands.”

Blum spoke about the importance of doing well in those subjects that might not appear to have much practical use, saying that they make you “more well-rounded.” Though he acknowledged that “I was where you guys all are” in feeling that way.

Sproveri discussed marketing experience gained from working for Disney Cruise Lines but told the students that life “doesn’t always go the way you expect it.”

“We’re nothing but a collection of our experiences,” Smith told the students. He was asked whether his service impacted his hiring with the district and Smith said that things such as “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am” are the “soft skills” you learn in the service.

“(You are) going to come out with experience being a veteran,” he said.

Mayes told the students that he “grew up on East Main Street, just like you guys.”

Recently promoted to the rank of colonel and currently working at the Pentagon, Mayes said that growing up he “looked around (and) loved the area. It’s a special town” that he did not “necessarily want to leave….”

After he graduated from Clarion, however, doors opened for him to enlist in the Army and ultimately proceed through Officer’s Candidate School.

That service has brought him “lasting friendships” and “really cool jobs.”

“I grew up in Youngsville just like you. Your teachers in Youngsville High School are phenomenal. Youngsville is special…. We’re no different. It’s your through process. Make good decisions. The last step is act. Just do it.”

Beers said that this serves as career exploration for the middle school students but said that the high school students were surveyed and then selected which of the presenters they want to hear.

The students have also been tasked with reflecting on the path that the presenters took so see if theirs was a “path they feel they can see themselves doing.”