Damian Broom had the look and sound of success, as did many of his fellow high school classmates and peers in Rankin County on Wednesday.
“I love English and I’d like to be a teacher,” said Broom, a Pisgah High School senior, one of about 2,500 high school students at the Rankin County School District College Fair, held at the Muse Center on Hinds’ Rankin Campus.
Looking every bit the teacher in a teal dress shirt and glasses, Broom said a love for the spoken and written word drives him to be an educator.
“I was thinking of graphic design, but I just think English is important,” Broom said.
The annual event draws students from the nine high schools in the Rankin public school system and representatives from more than 60 universities, mainly in Mississippi and Louisiana, and branches of the military.
More than 700 students visited Hinds booths at the fair, said Kathryn Cole, district director of Enrollment Services.
“Students learned all about enrolling at Hinds, as well as the majors and scholarships we have to offer,” Cole said. “We enjoy having Rankin County graduates attend Hinds after high school. Many of them come to Hinds to finish their Associates of Art degree after already having a jump start on college through our dual credit program.”
The event gives students a chance to talk to recruiters about a range of career paths that only a post-high school education can provide.
McLaurin High School’s Christina Elam is another prospective educator looking to get educated on what’s to offer from universities.
“I’m planning on going to Hinds for a few years, then transferring to Mississippi State, preferably to teach English,” Elam said. “I’ve had a love of being with kids my whole life.”
An engineering career beckons for Saray Benitez, of Northwest Rankin High School, who visited with recruiters from Hinds’ Utica Campus about the STEM-UP program, which fosters careers in science and math.
“I’d like to be a civil engineer,” she said. “I’ve always liked messing with math and science.”
Horace Gentry, a senior at Florence High School, is leaning to nursing and all things medical.
“I have relatives that used to do it and they’ve said you can make a good living off it,” Gentry said. “And I’ve always been interested in how the human body works.”
Ditto for Ariel Griffin and Myaya Harris, both Brandon High seniors and looking into nursing programs – possibly post-natal care.
“I want to take care of babies,” Griffin said. “I wouldn’t want to do deliveries, but I’d like to work to take care of them.”
The outdoors is drawing Brandon Wilson’s interest, while Lee Schisler is programming for himself a possible career in information technology.
“I’m actually looking into something to do with wildlife and being a game warden,” said Wilson, also a Florence High senior. “I’m here to find about programs I should take to do that.”
“I’m thinking of doing anything technology-wise,” said Schisler, a Pisgah High School senior. “I’m thinking IT because it’s always a growing market and jobs should always be there.”