Kids see different ‘Worlds of Work’

Hunter Rinker, 12, a North Fork Middle School student, tries on a mask as part of the personal protection equipment at a Valley Health booth during the Worlds of Works Expo held Wednesday in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER   Thousands of students had their passports punched Wednesday and Thursday to a possible glimpse of their future.

This is the third year for Worlds of Work Expo, a two-day career event in which about 3,000 seventh grade students from area schools district preview what could be their future career paths.

There were 72 different businesses at this year’s program in 10 career fields, including agriculture, communications, construction, finance, health science and more.

Aden Richardson, 13, a student at Signal Knob Middle School, watches a chemical reaction of Alka Seltzer with vegetable oil, water, and food coloring at Continental AG's station during the Worlds of Work Expo on Wednesday. The firm is a plastics manufacturer in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

One table that was surrounded by kids during the event was Thermo Fisher Scientific, with its electro- magnets and frozen bubbles, made of dry ice, warm water and soap.

“Kids love science,” said Jeffrey Vaughan, manager of environmental health and safety for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Thermo Fisher supports STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education) so we reach out to kids.”

Standing at the Thermo Fisher table was Briyanna Hollifield, who attends North Fork Middle School.

“It’s interesting here. I think one of my favorites is science then the emergency services. I am interested in studying to be a doctor —  you can save someone’s life,” Hollifield said.

With her was North Fork student Jocelyn Morales, who wants to be an artist.

J.D. Orndorff, deputy chief of training for Winchester Fire and Rescue, coaches Ben LeBlanc, 13, a student at Signal Knob Middle School, on cardiopulmonary resuscitation technique during the Worlds of Work Expo in Winchester Wednesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

“It is a great way to show kids what they want to do,” Morales said.

Middle school students in Virginia have to create an academic and career plan to help guide their studies. The expo was designed to help them with that.

“We want to give them the ability to see different industries,” said Katie Rice, Career & Technical Education, STEM supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools. “See what they like and don’t like, which can be just as important.”

Signal Knob seventh graders Zachary Flynn and Samuel Rinehart were also at the Expo.

“It’s cool. There are a lot of things to learn,” Flynn said.

“You see behind the scenes of everything,” Rinehart said.

The boys were soon on their way to look at other worlds.

The Worlds of Work event is up for a Governors Award for Innovation and Excellence in Education. The award winner will be announced tonight.

Worlds of Work is managed by the Lord Fairfax Community College Career Pathways Consortium  in partnership with Barrett Machine, Inc.,  the Frederick County Economic Development Authority, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, the Winchester Economic Development Authority and the Winchester Group. The  consortium is comprised of the following public school divisions: Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and Winchester.