PARIS — Paris Elementary School students got a hands-on introduction to 20 careers Monday as they continued their quest to inspire students to higher education.

“It helps kids know what they want to do in life and know how to prepare for it,” said fifth-grader Peter Tavares.

Tavares was one of dozens of students who spent Monday afternoon going through stations were set up throughout the school to learn about careers ranging from forestry management to dental hygiene, carpentry and dance instruction.

The career fair was part of the Oxford Hills School District’s Aspire Higher program to encourage students and their parents to think about students’ futures after high school and how secondary education could play a vital role in their success.

“My favorite was the baseball person,” said Sebastian Keniston, a fourth-grader who heard from an employee of the Maine Red Claws basketball team.

Aspire Higher was started about 14 years ago when approximately 75 participants marched along Main Street in Paris to promote higher education. The district provides opportunities for the community to support students in raising aspirations through community-based activities such as the career fair and guest speakers. 

Additionally, more than 60 Aspire Higher scholarships donated by businesses and community members are awarded annually in assemblies at each school.

Participants in Monday’s career fair included Matt Koskela, engineer; Geiger Manufacturing’s Dawn LaPrell; Anthony Morin, carpenter; Bailey Keating, firefighter; Debi Irons, a dance instructor, and Scott Wels, representing the military at West Point.

Also involved were Skip Mowatt, police officer; Jim Peterson, forestry management; Scott Vogel, Maine Red Claws; April Frost, artist; Christine Adler, nurse; Shelley Kennagh, banker; Karen Munday, dental hygienist; Harold Skelton, human resources vice president; Glenn Brown, correctional captain; April Barker, targeted case manager; Matt Crandall, applications writer; Shannon Vishe, cosmetologist; and Dee Snow, physical therapist. 

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