Marysville, Tulalip students get the inside scoop on colleges, careers at 2012 Opportunity Expo | SLIDESHOW

TULALIP — Area high school students got to talk one-on-one with regional employers and representatives for post-graduate education throughout the day on Tuesday, April 17, in the Orca and Chinook rooms of the Tulalip Resort.

Every 11th-grade student in the Marysville School District, including those of the Tulalip Tribes, was bused to the crowded rooms during a school day to meet with more than 150 recruiters and spokespersons for two- and four-year colleges, technical and trade schools, trade unions, local businesses and branches of the military, as well as community service and volunteer opportunities.

Renee Roman Nose of Northwest Indian College at Tulalip reported that three students who visited during the morning session got jobs on the spot, and called upon the students in the midday session to use the 2012 Opportunity Expo — jointly provided by the Marysville Rotary, the Tulalip Tribes and the Marysville School District — to help them avoid making the same mistakes as their elders.

"We haven't kept proper care of the earth or the economy," said Roman Nose, who argued that passing up on college is like throwing away a lottery ticket worth $1 million in additional lifetime earning power. "We're looking to you to be smarter than we've been."

All of the students interviewed had found something to spark their interests in the rows of booths. Kory Edgecomb and Alwyn Galang both attend the Bio-Med Academy at Marysville Getchell High School, but their shared fondness for healthcare took them in very different directions.

"I'm thinking of going into physical therapy now," said Edgecomb, after speaking with personnel at the Summit Rehabilitation table.

"I asked the Navy recruiters about becoming a doctor," said Galang, who would like to follow his father into the same branch of service.

Dylan Smith, a student at Marysville Getchell's School for the Entrepreneur, had been leaning toward engineering before the electronic displays of Pacific Lutheran University piqued his curiosity about video production, while The Marysville Globe was approached by not only Eugene Gonzales, an aspiring National Geographic photographer currently enrolled in MG's International School of Communications, but also Laura Plas and Tayler Royon, both of Pathways of Choice at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

"I'm thinking about graphic design," said Plas, whose fascination with the field owes much to her studies of collaging and Andy Warhol. "I'm also interested in the hair salon stuff that I'm seeing, because I like doing my friends' hair."

"I'm interested in fine art and fashion photography," Royon said, as she and Plas spoke with representatives of the National College of Art and Design. "I could also go for video game designing."

Like Galang, M-PHS Naval Junior ROTC Cadet Lt. Cmdr. Kristofer Davies consulted with the recruiters in the room, since he's aiming for either the Naval or Air Force academies to launch him toward a career as a pilot, and he was pleasantly surprised to find himself ahead of the game.

"They told me I was already doing what I need to be doing," Davies said. "They also reminded me that quality matters more than quantity. It doesn't matter if you get your applications in early if you haven't done them right."

Pathways of Choice's Breanna Burt and SHOPP's Bianca Zamora both took advantage of some hairstyling demonstrations by the Gene Juarez Academy, although Burt believes that her fondness for helping others might manifest itself just as well as a counselor as it would as a cosmetologist.

"The response from the business community has been incredible," said David Carpenter, high school career counselor for the Marysville School District. "It's been far greater than we expected. The community is sending a clear message to all of our students. We care about your future and are here to help."

"Education is power, and this event will benefit the future of the students, as well as our communities," said Randy Elliott of the Tulalip Tribes Higher Education Department.

"Opportunity Expo 2012 will provide students with a great resource to learn more about their professional passions, career dreams or what educational opportunities await them after graduation," said Chris Nation, president of both the Marysville School District Board of Directors and the Rotary Club of Marysville. "We want every young adult to know that they are important, that they can succeed and that this event is here to help them achieve that goal."

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