Whitehall-Yearling High School senior Kayla Stewart knows what she will be doing between the time she graduates May 29 and packs her bags for the University of Arizona: working at the new Community Park branch of the YMCA of Central Ohio.
"I knew that's what I wanted to do and applied for the job," said Stewart, who will be a dance instructor at the branch when it opens later this year at Whitehall Community Park, 402 N. Hamilton Road.
Stewart, 17, began taking dance lessons at age 9 and is proficient in ballet, tap and hip-hop, she said.
"I registered for the spring quarter (2020 at the University of Arizona) and will study dance there," she said.
The YMCA of Central Ohio was one of about 30 central Ohio businesses and organizations that participated in Whitehall-Yearling's second career fair March 8 at the school.
"It really helps students to begin focusing on goals and plans for after high school, either a vocation or college," said Anthony Paletta, a teacher at Whitehall-Yearling who helped organize and present the fair.
For the first time this year, the career fair was open to the public, said Joyce Turnbull, a Chicago-area resident and 1969 graduate of Whitehall-Yearling who helped organize both this year's and last year's fairs.
The event was open to students from 2 to 6 p.m. and to the public from 3:30 to 6 p.m. March 8.
It also welcomed students from Rosemore Middle School, who were transported to the high school, said Pam Glass, a transition coordinator at Whitehall-Yearling and an organizer of the event.
Bill Hughett, the district's athletics director, said the career fair is a benefit to students in multiple ways.
"It's a good opportunity for our kids to see all their options," Hughett said.
At the fair, Whitehall-Yearling sophomore Royal Sibley, 16, met Anthony Jordan, a State Farm insurance agent in Blacklick who is a Whitehall-Yearling graduate.
"(Jordan) told me about having his own business and the importance of education," said Sibley, who plays basketball at Whitehall-Yearling.
Jordan played baseball at Whitehall-Yearling and football at the University of Toledo, Hughett said.
Among the other businesses and organizations that participated in the career fair are Alliance Data, Heartland Bank, Lane Aviation, FedEx, the Whitehall Divisions of Fire and Police, and the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army.