Pacific helps local, young students SOAR

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For the 15th consecutive year Pacific University will be partnered with the Forest Grove School District in providing space, catering, and assistance to the SOAR With Your Dreams Career Fair for students of the Forest Grove and Cornelius school districts.

“Our biggest goal with partnering with Pacific was to get these kids on a college campus. Most, even the ones from Forest Grove, have never been on a college campus. It’s a totally different experience for them and it can be really exciting,” said Director of Communications and Partner Development for the Forest Grove School District, Connie Potter.

The fair will be held on March 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Although the career fair is being catered to fifth through eighth-graders in the Forest Grove school district, it is open to the public. Cost for attendance is $15 as a minimal compensation for the cost of hosting the event.

“It doesn’t come close to covering the input costs because we want everyone to be able to afford to come. We won’t turn anyone who can’t pay away either. That’s not what the day is about,” said Potter.

The fair is designed so that students can choose up to four career sessions throughout the day. Nine sessions are offered per time slot with a total of 36 career sessions for students to attend. Past presenters include Forest Grove law enforcement, Pacific University Optometry, Adidas designers, fashion designers, and representatives from various health professions. Bigelow, of Aramark, will be giving an academic session on the culinary arts.

Presenters at each session will be coercing the students to interact with the career in a hands-on manner. At last year’s career fair students dusted cans for fingerprints with law enforcement.

“The coolest thing about this fair is to see the students get so excited over college and careers. Every year I hear kids say ‘when I grow up I want to be…’ It’s rewarding to think we had such an impact on these kids’ lives,” said Potter.

When the school district decided to organize the career fair, directors chose to target a younger audience because of the lack of programs directed to kids before they reach high school.

“There are already events for high school students. We really wanted to reach them while they still see the world as an open book and believe they can do anything they want,” said Potter.

Sixty percent of kids eat off of free and reduced lunch in the Forest Grove School District, according to Potter. Of this number few have been on the Pacific University Campus.

“It can be hard for low income families to provide opportunities like this to their kids. This fair is just one of the tools we use to reach them and open their eyes to all of the possibilities for their future. None of that would be possible without the generous help and donation from Pacific University. None of this would be possible without their help,” said Potter.


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