Finding their paths

Conferences aim to help eighth-graders set career goals

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Although it may seem as though the eighth-grade girls at Craig Middle School are focusing only on summer break, Patti Askew knows better.

"The Women's Foundation has identified eighth grade as a pivotal year. If we can get them thinking about their careers before high school, they will be much more directed in selecting classes," Askew said.

As chairwoman of the upcoming Girls To Women/Women To Girls career conference, funded by the Women's Foundation of Colorado, Askew will bring together a wide variety of female professionals to discuss their careers with the girls during a series of presentations, activities and workshops.

In its fifth year, the all-day event and special luncheon is April 27 at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

"The purpose of the conference is to convene successful professional women to interact with girls, to introduce girls to the skills and knowledge needed for particular careers, to challenge girls to conquer barriers and to keep all career avenues open," said Kathy Bockelman, middle school counselor and event planner.

The event had been popular and successful with the middle school girls, so teachers felt inclined to develop a similar career conference for the boys.

"We hope to let the boys know what's available and what's required to let them get the jobs they want and so that they go into high school with a better attitude," said Ann Charchalis, middle school teacher and boys conference organizer.

Charchalis plans to do a similar boys' conference in conjunction with educators at Colorado Northwestern Community Coll--ege, and perhaps a trip to the Trapper Mine. The event schedule is to be determined.

After teachers finalize the boys conference, eighth-graders will have a day dedicated to expanding their horizons while their educators provide them with what Bockelman thinks kids need most: "useful information and encouragement to grow into productive adults."

Dave Shively can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or dshively@craigdailypress.com.

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