With critical decisions about their future looming just around the corner, hundreds of Greeneville and Greene County high school juniors took advantage of expert advice about educational opportunities and careers at the first ever Junior Conference sponsored by Tusculum College.
More than 800 juniors from all area high schools attended the conference which focused on higher education opportunities and career awareness.
According to Jacquelyn D. Elliott, vice president for enrollment management, the first-year event was a success.
“Overall the Junior Conference was able to offer a wide variety of personalized information on education and career choices directly relating to life decisions these students will be making in the next two years,” said Elliott.
“We had tremendous community support and could not have provided the comprehensive event that we did without all the wonderful volunteers who served as educational and career speakers, moderators and guides.”
The day opened with Nathan Honeycutt, the keynote speaker for the conference. Honeycutt shared with the high school students his journey from high school to working as an architect on such projects as the Georgia Aquarium to working on high profile developments in Dubai, Beirut and Tripoli.
Honeycutt then challenged the students to “define your own story. From this point forward, what are you going to do? While you cannot change the past or control what is going to happen in the future, you can control what you do today.”
In thinking about a future career path, Honeycutt advised the students to think about what makes them happy or what they enjoy. “Do what you love,” he counseled.
“It is okay to fail,” Honeycutt said. “There are very few guarantees in life, but one is that everyone will experience failure. But, what matters is how you respond.”
Honeycutt also told the students that they are responsible for their lives once they get to college. Parents and teachers are guides, he continued, but it is a young person’s responsibility to learn and seize the opportunities to achieve his or her dream.
“I was in your seat 14 years ago,” he concluded. “Now it is your time to define your story.”
Students attended a variety of sessions that provided career information first-hand from local company representatives and from area professionals who shared experiences and information about their fields.
Students could choose from sessions such as “Preparing for your College Interview” and “College Lingo and Terminology” as well as from sessions from community representatives such as the Wal-Mart Distribution Center and John Deere Power Products.
Additionally, sessions were also provided on career/professional topics including sport management, nursing, education, athletic training, information technology, medical technology, business, politics and law.
”It is our hope that students not only enjoyed the sessions and speakers, but also that they learned something that will help them with their future decisions about career and education choices,” said Elliott.