Fort Kent middle school students explore Maine career opportunities

FORT KENT, Maine — Valley Rivers Middle School students got a headstart on the future when they researched and provided live presentations about career opportunities for a project called The Maine Event.

Approximately 140 seventh- and eighth-graders participated in the project. The students learned about careers that interested them and presented their findings to parents and community members on May 3 at the school gym.

The middle school students’ research focused on specific knowledge of careers found in Maine, in order to help guide their future career planning, Fort Kent educator Pamela Deschaines said. 

“Students completed a survey to help guide them on a specific career to research information on. The project helped students gain information on not only the benefits and challenges of the careers but the need of these careers in Maine,” Deschaines said.

Chandler Theriault presented on marketing sales and service at The Maine Event, a Valley Rivers Middle School project that encouraged students to research potential careers. (Courtesy of John Kaleta)

Ahead of their presentations to parents and community members, the middle school students shared their findings with fifth- and sixth-graders from Fort Kent Elementary School.

This not only helped the middle school students perfect their presentation skills, but also provided the younger students with an opportunity to prepare for their own presentations once they reach middle school, Deschaines said. 

Community employers assisted the students by way of interviews, serving at The Maine Event as food vendors, like Rock’s Family Diner and Bouchard Family Farms, and by providing an encouraging sounding board when the students gave their presentations. 

Some local employers also donated money or raffle items to raise funds for future events.

While some students developed a stronger commitment to their future employment goals by way of their research, others were equally empowered.

“Some students realized they actually weren’t interested anymore in the career they selected, which we celebrated since it is better to find out at this age level than when they were a senior in high school or a freshman in college,” Deschaines said. 

Regardless of whether the young students will pursue the careers they researched, all have a jump start on one of the fundamental elements it takes to succeed in any endeavor.

“Students were proud of their work,” Deschaines said.

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