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Career Day for Valor Middle School

Career Day for Valor Middle School

Career fairs for middle school students have a very different purpose then career fairs for older students and working adults. The middle school career fair is engineered to allow children to imagine possibilities for their future. Research indicates that middle school students are at risk from disengaging with their education. Offering middle school students a unique experience with a career fair may inspire career goals and ignite a new ambition towards learning and school. Middle school is also a time that girls, at-risk students, and minorities begin to limit their aspirations due to preconceived stereotypes. Career fairs can offer an opportunity for those students to see examples of careers they may not even be aware of. Lastly, these middle school career fairs are intended to position college as a future step towards a career; inspiring college-ready thinking while choosing high school courses.

At Valor Middle School in Woodburn, OR, administrators and teachers are invested in educating young students about their future career opportunities. OHPD was invited to attend the Valor career day, which administrators organized for their 8th grade students in March 2020 before social distancing protocols were put in place. Our volunteer team of designers and architects met with students and each shared their own path into the profession. Founding architect Deb France shared her professional journey with the students. Designer Juan Carlos Garduño and Proposal Coordinator Callie Coles also shared how they became involved in architecture and why they enjoy the industry. Juan Carlos was able to give our entire presentation in Spanish to the children in the ESL program. It’s important that all students are given an equal chance at success, no matter what language they speak or where they are from.

In addition to sharing their personal stories, the team explained the basics of the design process and shared images from our projects at Valor Middle School and Woodburn High School. This unique opportunity allowed the students to connect the design process as it related to their own school and the high school which many of the students will be attending next year. After the presentation, each group of students toured the new Valor Middle School addition, scheduled to open in Fall of 2020. OHPD's Project Manager, Caitlin McGehee, led the tour along with contractor Defryn Dunkley.

Many thanks to Woodburn School District and the administrators at Valor Middle School for inviting us to be a part of your career day and for giving us the opportunity to share our love of architecture and design with the next generation.

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