College and Career Expo returns to McHenry High School
With more than 100 representatives from colleges, trades, businesses, military and more, the annual McHenry High School College and Career Expo returned on April 21 to offer students a chance to plan their future.
This was the first expo for the newly reorganized McHenry High School District 156 Upper Campus, and the first in-person event since 2019.
Representatives set up tables throughout the Main Gym with information about their postsecondary programs to allow sophomores, juniors and seniors an in-person event to talk about life after graduation. For freshmen, counselors made several postsecondary presentations in March at the Freshman Campus, and another expo is planned for May 12 just for freshmen.
Hamaas Ibrahim, plumbing instructor for the Plumbers' Joint Apprenticeship Committee, said the McHenry event was one of the biggest he has attended. He talked to students about the five-year apprenticeship program that allows students to earn while they learn.
Ibrahim said he was so busy handing out materials "they had to make more copies for me."
The plumbers union was one of about 25 vendors that represent skilled trades and workforce training programs, including traditional tech/trade schools, labor unions, local employers, apprenticeship programs, and community colleges who feature strong trades and apprenticeship programming.
Sophomores Lola Cassidy, Hailey Huffman and Jennifer Orozco all appreciated the opportunity to learn more about options after high school. Cassidy gathered information about becoming a firefighter while Huffman and Orozco learned more about education pathways for becoming teachers.
"I think it's a great opportunity," Cassidy said.
Curtis Menke, college and career counselor for McHenry District 156, said many of the representatives and recruiters commented about how impressed they were with the students who attended the expo.
"I am so proud of our students and hope this event moves them a little closer to their next step beyond high school," Menke said.
Those represented at the fair include many 4-year and 2-year colleges and universities, trade and technical schools, military, and businesses and professional unions that offer workforce training.
The last in-person expo at McHenry High School was in 2019. For the last two years, counselors have been promoting virtual sessions.