On Thursday, March 10, 2016, ASPIRE Community Day School opened its doors to local businesses, organizations, college representatives, and the Armed Forces to provide students with opportunities to network with professionals from a diverse range of industries and fields. Staff members prepared students by incorporating resume writing and mock interviews in their curriculum. Over 60 representatives were invited to participate and offer career guidance to students.
Principal Cristian Miley said, “The overall goal was to give our students opportunity and hope. Our kids should have all the opportunities to be successful that all other kids have, even though they made a mistake.” ASPIRE's purpose is to restore confidence, develop a sense of self respect, and promote success. He went on to say, “These fairs allow our kids to feel as valued and worthy as any other students in HUSD. It also allows us to show our community the potential of our students and our value as an agent of change.”
The event stems from a partnership between members of the community and ASPIRE’s Counseling and Career Center. Counselor and event coordinator LaVerne Williams–Schoonover said, “Our goal is to show our students what resources are out there and by hosting this event, we can showcase a variety of opportunities they can pursue.”
While networking was the primary focus, businesses currently looking to hire new employees conducted interviews on-site and are considering a handful of students for part-time positions. Walmart manager Jacqueline Garcia recently hired students from ASPIRE and continues to partner with school programs to provide insight as a manager and scout for prospective employees. "The career fair had an amazing turn out. It was incredible to see how many businesses and colleges showed up to support the students at ASPIRE. So many students there are eager to get into the workforce and continue their education and we were very happy to be a part of it."
Other participants were simply looking to give back to the community. Rose Quinn from Cagliero Ranch Nursery attended to share her experiences and also donated seeds and fruit trees for ASPIRE’S science classes. “It was great to be able to share my experience in agriculture with the students.”
ASPIRE intends to host the fair on an annual basis and maintain partnerships with the presenters. The goal is to provide a constant source of opportunities for students.
“I liked that there were so many different booths to get information from and there were many different colleges to talk to also,” said ASPIRE student, Dylan Wenninger.
“The fair had a lot of job opportunities and good information. Storm Stadium gave baseball tickets and Bahama Bucks gave shaved ice samples!” said ASPIRE student, Aleea Moore.