The New Albany-Plain Local School District prepares students to take the PSAT tests by first encouraging them to explore career options.
"A lot of high schools have the students take the test and go home," said New Albany High School Principal Ric Stranges. "We are utilizing the entire day by bringing in community members who share their passions and professions with our students."
All 1,300 students on the morning of Oct. 17 attended one of 24 presentations on careers in engineering, sustainability, photography, nutrition, architecture, writing, skateboarding, interior design, law enforcement, culinary arts, sports medicine, music, education, politics, business, coaching, veterinary medicine, real estate, fitness, law, firefighting, information technology, military service and stress management.
After the presentations, the students ate lunch and then took the PSAT, the qualifying test for scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship program.
"It's a nice deviation from a normal or typical day and hopefully stress relieving, as well," Stranges said.
The engineering presentation featured Lonnie Morgan Jr. from NASA.
Students asked about other nations' space exploration programs and learned that India is planning a trip to Mars and China plans to study the moon.
"I hope you'll consider a career in science," Morgan said. "Go forth, be smart and become a nerd."
Sophomore Ben Iten and junior Chris Ryan said they attended Morgan's presentation because they already have chosen a career path in engineering. Iten said he is interested in aerospace engineering and Ryan hopes to become a pilot.
Senior Cory Harvey, who is undecided about his future career, said he went to the presentation to learn more about engineering and science.
"It makes me more interested in it," he said.
Students who attended the skateboarding presentation were able to practice their skills under the supervision of a professional skateboarder.
Language arts teacher Ben Arthurs, who goes skateboarding with his family, said the sport can lead to careers in art, architecture and entrepreneurship.