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More than 3,000 eighth graders attend career expo at Coast Coliseum

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 5:38 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Eighth graders throughout Mississippi had an opportunity to explore nearly 100 different career options inside the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center Wednesday during the annual Pathways-2-Possibilities Expo.

“It’s been amazing learning about so many different things and being exposed to so many different other people’s jobs and what they do,” Keandria Goodman from West Harrison Middle School said.

Eighth-grader Alyssa Craft from Pearl River Central Middle School was suited up in firefighting equipment and crawled through a snug tunnel.

“I think it’s like really cool to like experience all of this and like see how hard the job can really be,” she said.

The annual event started back in 2013, but it was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

“We weren’t sure that we were even going to be able to get schools to come back to an event this year,” project coordinator Virginia Perkins told WLOX.

This time around, they welcomed the second-largest group of all time.

“The schools recognized how important this is and also our businesses and industries,” co-founder and project manager Karen Sock said.

More than 90 companies set up booths to provide students with insight into their industries, including one of our own teams from WLOX.

“It could probably be like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that if like anybody has the chance to come out and do it that they should,” Braeleigh Landry from Hancock Middle School said.

More than 3,000 eighth graders filled the Coliseum Wednesday, and nearly 4,000 are expected on Thursday.

“It’s really fun to experience this early as a teenager and an eighth-grader,” Shatonia Reed from West Harrison Middle School said.

P2P coordinators said a study with the University of Mississippi is tracking sample groups from the convention over five years, and it’s showing a positive impact for students.

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