BUCKFIELD — Hallie Starbird wants to become a surgeon someday so she decided Friday that a good first step was signing up for the certified nurses assistant/allied health program offered by the Region 11 vocational school.

Scott Wheelie isn’t sure what he wants to do when he gets older, but the culinary arts program looks like it might be interesting, he said.

Both freshmen at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School were among dozens of students Friday listening to what instructors from Region 11’s 19 vocational programs had to offer.

Shawn Lambert, director of Region 11, said 460 students attend one of the vocational programs, and at least another 150 are enrolled in one-period classes, such as business or introduction to a variety of longer programs.

“We have three times the state average (of vocational students),” he said.

Among the most popular are allied health, graphics and forestry.

Naudia Wesley and Mickayla Waterman are interested in various kinds of art-related careers, so they listened closely to the presentation made by graphics instructor Richard Cormier.

“I’m really interested in engineering and architecture,” Naudia said. “I want to join the Coast Guard then go to college.”

Mickayla wants to become a makeup artist, so she, too, believes graphics will help.

Culinary arts instructor Norma Smith explained the tasks that would be expected of students in her program to a group of young boys.

“You get to eat what you bake. And after you’re pretty good at it, we sell it,” she said.

Cameron Stevens was very much interested in culinary arts and automotive technology.

“I can’t even make lunch. I want to learn,” he said.

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School guidance counselor Mike Webber said each student chooses his or her first and second vocational choice, then will visit those classes at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in March.

From there, if a student wants to pursue a vocational program for the next school year, he or she would apply and be interviewed by the instructor of their chosen program. Region 11 began inviting eight-graders last year as a way to expose them to what is possible when they become high schoolers, Lambert said.

Instructors from each of the 19 programs were in Buckfield’s gym to make their presentations to all students grades eight to 11.

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