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Area high school students explore job options; practice interview skills

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CANTON - Equipped with their resumes and portfolios, roughly 1,100 St. Lawrence County high school students had the chance Wednesday to practice their job interview skills by meeting with employers from throughout the north country.

Whether they’re heading directly to the workforce, joining the military or enrolling in college, several students said the Gateways to Careers event was a helpful experience.

“I’ve never done an interview before, so this is great,” said Rachel H. Horwitz, a 17-year-old junior from Canton Central. “Even just typing up my resume was something new.”

Sponsored by St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, the annual gathering involves having high school students pick three different employers who critique their resumes and communication skills.

Teenagers seemed excited, and somewhat nervous, as they waited in line to meet one-on-one with employers. All 18 school districts in the BOCES region sent their seniors or juniors to the event. Most teens traded in their usual T-shirts and jeans for button-down shirts or skirts and dresses.

This year for the first time the gathering was moved to SUNY Canton’s athletic facility.

About 68 businesses participated representing private companies, government agencies, military branches, retailers, area hospitals and more.

Representatives from agri-businesses and various union groups joined this year’s list of employers.

Peter D. D’Luhosch was manning a booth set up by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“I think it’s encouraging for them (students) to see how many opportunities there are,” he said.

Rachelle E. Romodo, a BOCES administrator, said some students even land a job.

“It’s a chance for them to get professional feedback on their job-seeking skills, their resume and their portfolio,” she said.

Carly N. Gates, a senior at Gouverneur Central who plans to study nursing next year at SUNY Plattsburgh, was waiting in line to speak to a representative from United Helpers Inc.

“I like working with people and helping people. I think you get a lot of personal satisfaction in the health care field,” the 17-year-old said.

Potsdam Central high school senior Zachary P. Hinman, 18, said he’s joining the Navy and wants to work in the criminal justice field. He met with representatives from the U.S. Border Patrol, state Corrections and U.S. Customs.

“All of my meetings were awesome,” he said.

Devon M. Willmart, a Potsdam Central senior who attends cosmetology classes at BOCES Seaway Technical and Career Center, Norwood, said she made a promising job contact.

“The people who interviewed me said I did exceptional,” the 19-year-old said.

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