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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gaven, Beloit Daily News

There were more students than ever at the Second Annual Career and Technical Education Fair and Wisconsin Education Fair held at Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) on Monday.

The event featured the two fairs in different areas of the school so students could learn about careers and the education necessary to pursue them. It attracted not only BMHS students and their parents, but also grade school students and those from Milton, Beloit Turner and Edgerton high schools, according to Erin Wolf, a BMHS school counselor.

Wolf said the Wisconsin Education Fair in the field house attracted more than 100 educational institutions including technical colleges, two-year colleges, four-year universities and the Armed Forces. Having all the educational options in one place, she said, gave students the opportunity to explore options without needing to physically travel to the colleges and universities.

“We want to give access to all kids so they have a vision for the future,” Wolf said.

Businesses involved in manufacturing, construction, welding, information systems, engineering, hospitality and more had booths set up at the Barkin arena for the Second Annual Career and Technical Education Fair.

“We had a good turnout of companies that were able to help demonstrate to students what is available to them beyond high school. Along with our high school students we even had students from our eighth grade career classes at McNeel, Cunningham and Aldrich,” said Ryan Rewey, career and technical education director with the School District of Beloit.

There were also classroom representatives at the grade school level who were required to take the information learned and report it back to their classrooms.

“We appreciate the willingness of local companies wanting to participate in this event. We hope to continue to improve each year to make the experience better for all parties involved,” Rewey said.

BMHS senior Breanna Lovings, 18, said she already knew exactly what she was going to do after high school, go into Blackhawk Technical College’s (BTC) culinary arts program. She said her teacher Tony Capozziello had helped her make her decision.

“He’s there for you when you need someone to mentor you,” he said.

Breanna said although she is sure about her future, it was good to see what other opportunities there are besides BTC.

“It’s nice to see what choices you have,” Breanna said.

Junior Autumn Yaints, who had previously planned on being an actress, said she was looking into to educational options to help her prepare for a future working with special needs kids. She was considering UW Whitewater, BTC and University of Wisconsin - Rock County.

“It’s (the fair) really nice and helped students find a lot of colleges. It keeps their options open,” she said.

Brad Siegworth of Corporate Contractors, Inc., (CCI) was hosting an interactive activity where students competed to drill a screw into wood the fastest. The winners of each round were then entered into a drawing for an iTunes card.

“It looks easier than it is,” he joked.

Siegworth said the fair gave CCI the opportunity to get kids involved in thinking about basic skills.

“Kids don’t pick up tools and know what tools are anymore,” Siegworth said. “Knowledge is everything.”

Nearby Amy Beck, a machine operator from North American Tool was explaining all the great reasons to consider a job in manufacturing.

“I’m tickled pink every day I go to work,” Beck said.

Beck said she was telling students about the various jobs at North American Tool from machinist to computer programmer, but stressed to them the importance of hard work. If students want to make a lot of money, she said they have to be willing to put in a lot of money in work.

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