More than 200 Pickerington high school students last week marketed themselves to colleges, businesses, nonprofit organizations and military recruiters during a district-sponsored college and career symposium.
The fieldhouse at Pickerington High School Central was bustling Oct. 3, with the coming and going of students and recruiters -- ranging from business and college and military representatives to Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray -- and conversations about future plans.
It was all part of the first college-and-career symposium arranged by the Pickerington Local School District's English Language Arts Department.
About 130 students from Central and another 120 from North -- many in ties, dress slacks and other business attire -- offered repeated "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" responses along with resumes and signs indicating their areas of interest.
In some cases, students had a variety of post-graduation ambitions, including attending college, landing jobs or internships or joining the military.
Guests from each of those fields made the rounds talking with students both to learn about their interests and plans and to see if they might find their next employee or enrollee.
"Our English 12 teachers, as part of our creating more project-based learning in our curriculum, have had their students put together digital portfolios that include resumes, college essays, cover letters and whatever else they think might be relevant," said Mandy Kanzigg, secondary English instructional coach for both Central and North.
"We invited in the community, college reps, businesses and service organizations to engage with (students) in professional conversations to give them some interview practice and to just put their plans out there about what they're doing after high school and what their futures look like."
North senior Paul Wood said he plans to attend college and study medicine, including possibly bio-pharmaceutical research.
He said he plans to be part of the "next wave, the future of medicine to make it more personalized," but noted the symposium was helpful in giving him "a taste for what options we have after high school."
"We're trying to create a good first impression and follow that up with the foundation of our resume," Wood said.
Central senior Marvin Brooks also said he has his sights set on college, expecting to run track at Arizona State University, the University of Houston or the University of Oregon.
Wherever Brooks goes, he said he plans to pursue a degree in business or sociology and the symposium afforded opportunities to showcase his resume and let recruiters, including those offering internships, know his areas of interest.
"I want to go into something like marriage counseling, social work," Brooks said. "With the business part of it, I'm interested in marketing, the stock market."
Among business representatives who attended the symposium was Rochelle Nelson, co-owner of Violet Community CrossFit, 140 W. Borland St.
Nelson said she was on the lookout for young people to help market her company's core strength and conditioning programs.
"We're looking for an intern, someone who can do some graphic design work and social media promotion," Nelson said.
Students, such as North seniors Caroline Glanzman and Hannah Overfield, said the event was paying dividends for their pursuits to land internships in the fashion industry and make them more appealing college candidates.
"I'm also thinking about fashion merchandising with a minor in business," Glanzman said.
"I'm really here looking for just any kind of opportunities that will help with future career opportunities."
"We've already met people from Justice and Lane Bryant," Overfield said. "They've already offered us job interviews, so that's exciting."
After the symposium, Kanzigg said "many" students were able to set up interviews with businesses and others signed up to volunteer with service organizations. She said one student was offered an internship with Gray at City Hall.
"In the future, we hope to have more businesses participate in the event, in addition to having more college reps in attendance, but I think this was a great start," Kanzigg said.