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Tasting what the future offers today

Career center event mixes food with education resources

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ABOVE: Chris Davis, a sophomore at West Liberty-Salem High School who is considering his future plans, and his father, Scott Davis, talk with Urbana University admissions counselors Steffie Lybeck, left, and Aimee LeClair during the Thursday evening Taste of the Future event at the career center. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Matthew Urban of Rushsylvania, a junior in Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s culinary arts program acting as a representative for Jolene’s Cozy Café, serves a dip for Hi-Point cosmetology senior Peighton Wagoner of Bellefontaine during Thursday evening’s Taste of the Future event at the career center. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

Preparing for the future in today’s world requires a fine eye for detail, and some young students who attended Thursday evening’s Taste of the Future event at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center already have their sights set on that goal.

“I’m trying to get prepared for what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life,” said Marysville High School sophomore Travis Borders, who is aiming toward a career in electrical technology, as he sampled a plate of food from Black Tie Catering.

The event, which was expected to raise about $1,000 for a scholarship fund, commingled food from eight different local restaurants with information about 11 area colleges or universities and the career center, event organizer Kelsey Giesler said.

For other prospective students like Chris Davis of West Liberty-Salem High School, the event offered a blend of information about both college prep and technical paths of study.

“I’m trying to stay open to my options,” he said after talking about college prep with representatives of Urbana University. The career center is “a head start for further education because you already have experience before you go to college.”

And for students like Matthew Urban of Rushsylvania, who is in his first year of the career center’s culinary arts program and was serving food for Kenton restaurant Jolene’s Cozy Café, the courses provide a head start toward a career path in a field he already enjoys.

“I came here because I love to cook. I like throwing things together to see what I can come up with,” he said. “But honestly, I came here because you take from the culinary program whatever you put in. It has so much to offer and I love the instructors.

“When you come out of here you can get a job as a manager of a restaurant and the certifications you get here right when you come out of high school are covered by the school. Some of them would cost you $500 if you tried to get them when you are 25.”

And with talk of workforce preparation high on the economic and education agendas for both political parties in the election season that just passed, career centers, formerly known as joint vocational schools, have come a long way, said Arlie Borders, Travis’ father.
“I wish we had something this diverse when I went to JVS, but all we had was auto mechanics, auto body and diesel mechanics,” he said. “We had culinary arts, but it was nothing like what we have here today.”

And for others who attended the event, the chance to try a variety of local food was the focal point, agreed Marty Bloodsworth, whose granddaughter in the culinary arts program enticed her to attend the event.

“It gives me a chance to try a lot of new things I wouldn’t ordinarily try,” she said as she sampled a bite of crab dip from Jolene’s.

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