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The City Journals

Club encourages peers to look into many career opportunities

Jan 29, 2019 10:01AM ● By Julie Slama

Hillcrest seniors Emily Rupper and Gabriella Hernandez design marketing posters for the March 20 DigiForge conference. (Cher Burbank/Hillcrest High)

By Julie Slama |

Behind 15 career-related tours, conferences and activities, there may be members of Hillcrest High’s careers club taking an active role promoting it, attending or volunteering at the event.

“I joined my sophomore year even though I’ve loved horses since I was little and I have somewhat of an idea of what I’d like to do,” club president and senior Renee Smith said. “I’d like to be a novelist and live on a horse ranch, but that hasn’t stopped me from learning about other career options that are out there.”

Smith leads a student-driven club that often oversees the school’s participation through social media announcements, marketing, and support of activities such as the Pathway to Professions, engineering career fair, job shadow day, healthcare career fair, environmental and agricultural day and tours of diesel and industry careers.

Last year, her favorite activity she participated in was the entrepreneurial event, Risk It.

“We had breakouts where we learned from start-up companies and I heard a lot of careers I never would have known about if I hadn’t gone. It was cool to hear how Kallie Cooper and Parker Walbeck got their starts in photography and videography,” she said about the event that will be held March 26. “Being in the club allows us to be the first to know about field trips. We’re getting exposure to opportunities which expand our knowledge of careers world outside the classroom.”

In addition to attending tours and conferences, the club also supports work-based events, such as reality town at local middle schools. Club members volunteered Jan. 9 to help at Union Middle’s Reality Town and have the opportunity to repeat helping eighth-graders at Midvale Middle’s event March 12.

“I like the idea of helping kids with hands-on, interactive learning like Reality Town,” Smith said.

Smith, and her peers, track their hours of service they provide, said Cher Burbank, club adviser and Work-Based Learning Facilitator. At the end of the year, she awards them a service certificate.

“Many colleges want to know these kids are involved in the community so giving service is part of what the club does,” she said. “I can’t imagine the careers club without their service.”

Providing the club with a logo is a way senior Gabriella Hernandez could make an impact for both the club and the start of her own graphic design business.

“I got the idea for the logo from the Hillcrest Husky and how they are known for the Iditarod and sled teams in Alaska and Canada,” she said. “So I knew our club was team-based and thought what better way to bring the Huskies and our team together than through the logo.”

That logo now sports the club’s first-ever T-shirts, which announce the year’s events on the back, so it shows the club pride as well as advertises for activities, Burbank said.

And Hernandez got her start, supported by her school club.

“I’m considering a career as a mechanical designer for RPG (role-playing games) games and use my artistic ability to design them,” she said. “I’m a fan of fantasy.”

Hernandez joined careers club two years ago and learned about hacking to designing to 3D modeling at the DigiForge IT conference. This year, the conference is set for March 20.

“I’ve learned so many pathways to careers and how to be empowered to make our own choices,” she said. “It’s been really fun.”