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‘Village’ of organizations helps students

A "village" of organizations, businesses and institutions came together Friday for the Economic Keys to Success Career Fair to help Lawton's high school seniors find a pathway after high school. 

"It does take a village to raise a child," said Regina DeLoach, Career Fair co-chairman and Lawton High School principal. The fair  sponsored by the Lawton Branch of the NAACP, in partnership with Lawton Public Schools and Great Plains Technology Center, which provided the Worley Seminar Center as a venue  hosted representatives from educational institutions, the military, law enforcement and local corporations. They all came together in partnership, as a "village," to allow the district's high school seniors to be introduced to and be able to explore possible careers and education opportunities before graduation. 

At the Marine recruiting station, both young men and women tried to perform as many pull-ups on a high bar as the Marine recruiter was able to. Groups of students rotated around the room, picking up pamphlets and tips about jobs and educational opportunities. 

There wasn't any hiring going on, just information about how they could apply and what that process is, said retired Lt. Col. Eugene DeLoach, Career Fair chairman. 

During the morning session, more than 200 Lawton High students learned about possible jobs and higher education from representatives from various colleges, universities and trade schools  including Great Plains, Cameron University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Arts and Sciences of Oklahoma, Central Texas College, Columbia College and Platt Collage  from military recruiters, the Lawton police, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative and businesses such as Serco, GEO, Chick-fil-A, Whataburger, City National Bank and Goodyear. 

Taking a break from talking to representatives, seniors Asia Green, Rebecca Canta and Malayna Dinwiddie discussed what they had learned and what their plans are for after graduation. 

Green, who already has plans to attend college, was very interested in what the representatives at City National Bank had to say.

The person "was very informative and welcoming and had a lot to say," Green said, adding that there are entry-level jobs available there. 

"I have no plans," Canta said, adding that she was interested in the Platt College programs that would allow her to gain skills in a relatively short time.

Dinwiddie has plans to attend OU to study journalism, so she was glad to see the university represented at the fair. 

"It was my first choice," she said, adding that she took the opportunity to learn more about what OU offered in terms of Native American resources, cultural observances and events. 

Lawton High School counselor Brittani Mahan was pleased with the turnout from her school, especially since it was voluntary for the students. 

The Lawton Constitution

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