HAYS — From robots to styling hair, and graphic design to quilting, students at O’Loughlin Elementary School on Friday got to see and even experience how creativity can lead to a career.
In Friday morning’s “Careers that Create,” students had a half-hour of their morning schedule to visit about a dozen tables in the gym, each featuring a different career path.
It’s the second year O’Loughlin has had a career fair, said fourth-grade teacher Alicia Knight, who organized the fair along with second-grade teacher Rene Burns. Last year’s event featured heavy machinery and trucks.
“This one is things that you can do with your hands, things you can do to translate ideas you come up with in your head that come out with your hands,” Knight said.
A career fair for young students is all about exposing them to new ideas about what a job can be, the teachers said.
“It may have never crossed their minds they could do something like robotics. Maybe they knew about it but didn’t know that they could do it as an actual job,” Knight said.
Kyle Carlin, assistant director of special education, agreed.
“It’s really about getting them interested in helping them see what paths are out there, so they are already kind of starting to form some ideas and don’t box themselves in to what they see on TV,” he said.
“Sometimes it takes two or three times hearing about something. It’s all about exposure and getting them into more options for what their future could be,” he said.
Carlin wasn’t at the fair as an educator, however. He was there to talk to students about being an author. In 2016, Carlin published “Bug and Boo,” a children’s book that teaches kids how to identify and control their emotions.
Among the presenters in the gym, the drones and robots from Fort Hays State University's Department of Applied Technology and Dodge City radio host and disc jockey Monica Astorga attracted crowds of kids, but students also visited with Smoky Hills Public Television, drew pictures with FHSU graphic design students, braided hair with Hays Academy of Hair Design students and staff, and pieced together quilts with Joyce Wilson.
Some of the presenters were O’Loughlin parents or grandparents, including Chef Manuel Hernandez of Gella’s Diner, Brianna Day of J. Day Fireworks, and Micah and Noél Sanderson of MLS Creations.
Day’s husband, James, got his start with fireworks when he was 10, working a fireworks stand, and the couple purchased a fireworks company when they were in their 20s, she said. Among their fireworks shows are FHSU’s homecoming.
Day — co-president of O’Loughlin’s parent-teacher association — explained to the students how they use a computer program and electronic equipment to program fireworks shows set to music.
“When you have technology, you have to have a background in technology to run the programs and all the equipment that goes with the electronic firing. It all uses math with your angles, your geometry, your trajectory, how you want your fireworks to shoot,” she said.