Roughly 2,700 eighth graders and teachers in Elgin Area Unit District 46 descended on the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates Thursday for Explore 2022.
The annual expo introduces students to various career paths and demonstrates the connection between academic curriculum and future careers.
The event was held in person for the first time since 2019. The district hosted the event online for two years because of the pandemic.
U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders said it was “incredible” to be back in person.
“We tried to replicate it on Zoom, and our business partners did great,” he said. “But having 2,700 eighth graders actually come in person and have an opportunity to explore all these different career paths is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The Alignment Collaborative for Education, a local nonprofit organization that brings together community resources and initiatives to support district priorities, annually partners with U-46 to organize the event.
The eighth graders learned about careers in several pathways, including health care, human and professional services; arts and communications; business, financial services, IT and culinary; and manufacturing, engineering, technology and trades.
Students and faculty from U-46’s five high school magnet academies also had information booths.
Graci Colegrove, a junior from Larkin High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Academy, worked on a painting as the visiting students strolled behind and watched. She said she attended the expo when she was in eighth grade. The visit helped her decide on the academy path.
“That made me so much more motivated to apply,” she said. “It really put coal in my engine.”
Article by Rick West, Daily Herald
This article appeared in the Daily Herald, October 6, 2022