THREE LAKES - With a half day of classes, students in Three Lakes found plenty to cheer about Friday morning. But the limited hours and extended weekend weren't the only reasons for excitement.
Twenty-two speakers from nearly two dozen professions presented at the school's fourth career day—the first one held in two years.
"Last year we didn't do it and kids were mad," Principal Gene Welhoefer said. "So that was a good sign we needed to bring it back."
Welhoefer says a committee worked for several months to attract interested speakers. They brought in police and emergency services, manufacturing leaders, a cosmetologist, and even foreign service workers.
"When you look at the day and once it begins, you start to smile," Welhoefer said.
Speakers got about 25 minutes per session, discussing their careers with groups of five or six kids at a time. The school wanted to give students a variety of fields to choose from.
"If you're interested in being an accountant—and we don't have one in the building today; we have business people in—so look a little broader than just your narrow focus for what you think may be your career," Welhoefer said.
"There wasn't exactly a career I was looking forward to," Three Lakes freshman Michael Doely said. "TV news and anchoring was definitely a highlight."
Students critiqued each speaker based on how effective and enjoyable they were. But the presenters just appreciated the chance to reach young minds.
"It's always tough to give up the time [during a workday]," Oneida County Emergency Management Director Ken Kortenhof said. "But, boy, it sure is a valuable resource to be able to come here and talk with the kids and give them an idea of what's available to them for their future."
"It really is," agreed freshman Gracie Rehberg. "Just [to] see what everybody does and get a grasp of what they do."
Getting a grasp and a realistic idea of potential careers that, for some of theses students, aren't too far off.
"[We have careers that require a] small amount of training to doctoral degrees, but everything is possible," Welhoefer said. "You need some training for it and go out and seize the opportunity."
Welhoefer says he already has volunteers signed up to present at next year's career fair. If you'd like to be included, call the school at 715-546-3321.