Students and parents check out the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center

BIG RAPIDS – On Thursday, prospective Mecosta-Osceola Career Center students roamed the halls and classrooms, taking a glimpse at possible career paths.

The center held its annual open house, inviting parents and students in grades seven through 10 to check out education options. Teachers and current career center students were available to provide information and demonstrate what each class learns.

“This is not only for the current students to show off their work, but to show future generations what they could be doing,” said Curtis Finch, Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District superintendent. “The most popular programs are ones in which parents think their students can get jobs in.”

The open house gave parents of students currently taking courses at the center a chance to see what their children are learning, alongside prospective students and parents.

“A lot of times, we get parents who come by and they want to see what their students are learning about,” said Steve Locke, career and technical education director.

Invitations were sent to parents and students in grades seven through 10, Locke said. The center expected between 300 and 500 guests to attend.

Cosmetology students asked guests, upon entering the building, to take a short iPad survey that kept track of how many people attended, and what school, business or organization each person is from.

“We’ll look at the survey’s data to assess our marketing strategies and see where we need to put more emphasis,” said Mike Miller, principal.

More than 100 teachers and students helped run the open house, Miller said.

“I want students to understand the opportunities available to them while they are planning their high school career,” Miller said. “I think many students find out what career path they want to take here, but many also find out what they don’t want to do, which is just as good. It’s better to figure that out in high school than after a year or semester of college.”

Carri Aldrich, cosmetology para-educator, said she hopes students discover new career ideas at the open house.

“This is a really good time to get them thinking about their next years of school and what they might want to do as a career,” she said.

Miller is excited about the work staff and students are doing at the center.

“The real power in the open house is how the students are demonstrating what they have learned,” Miller said. “They’re saying, ‘Hey, look what I did.’”