Berea Community Middle School Students Prepare for Future at College and Career-Readiness Fair


Speakers from all over Richmond and Berea visited Berea Community Middle School eighth-graders to talk about college and career-readiness on February 15. They spoke about how succeeding in school now can prepare students for college and ultimately their careers.

Academic and career dreaming began in the morning, as part of the career portion of the College and Career Readiness Fair. Speakers gave the middle school students informative talks, describing a day in their lives, their careers and what it takes to get there.


Kentucky State Trooper Toby Coyle answered questions the students had about his career and demonstrated how a taser works, which fascinated students. Lindsay Bruner, a vegan marketing specialist, helped students create nutritional green smoothies using pineapples and spinach. Bruner also explained the importance of being healthy and talked about her career path. Madison County EMS and Physical Therapist Lorah Shackleford demonstrated how a defibrillator works by electric shock. She then took students through a typical day in her career.

In the afternoon, college-readiness sessions were held in ten classrooms where speakers focused on how students can get into certain careers. Students were divided into rooms by their career interests, and learned what they need to do in the classroom to prepare for their dream career.


Thirty students who wanted to become college athletes met a quarterback for the EKU football team, Jared McClain, and the midfielder for the EKU soccer team, Tess Akgunduz. “I am doing everything I can now to get onto a professional team,” said McClain. “But in case that doesn’t happen, I am working hard in the classroom to ensure that I will get a degree and a good job.”

Another room was all about volunteering, as Heather Schill from Berea College’s Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS) office spoke to thirty-five students about why volunteering is important to be a good citizen. Charlotte Haycraft, GEAR UP Academic Specialist at Berea Community School and coordinator of College and Career Readiness Day, agreed. “Volunteering is one of our focuses here at Berea Community School.”


Seth Henderson, graduate of Berea Community School and a first-generation college student, explained that making good grades in middle and high school opened college opportunities. Henderson admitted that he was not a very strong student in middle school, but he learned what it takes to be successful. He explained his process to students and answered their questions about achieving success for themselves.

Henderson’s talk was titled, “If Someone Had Told Me in Middle School.” He wished people in middle school told him that, “regardless of who you are, don’t think because of financial circumstances you can’t go to college.”

Haycraft moved from room to room, watching her students learn from the presenters. “These ten rooms are trying to inform us and get us college-ready,” she said. “To me, this is the most important part of the day. Too often we have career days and students leave thinking, ‘I could never get that career.’ What is happening in these ten rooms is offering them hope, and a reality of how they can achieve what they saw.”

Berea Community Middle School College and Career Fair Photo Gallery