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Students pose for a photo during the Paulding Middle School Career Fair in Arroyo Grande on March 11, 2024. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. – Hundreds of Paulding Middle School students had the opportunity Monday to explore different employment opportunities during the school’s annual Career Fair.

Held in the school’s gymnasium over three-plus hours, the event allowed all of the school’s 7th and 8th grade students the chance to meet face-to-face with more than two dozen local professionals from a myriad of industries.

“I like that we get to learn about different careers,” said student Camila Lopez. “Information about what goes on in their job and how much they earn.”

During their time of about 30 minutes, students walked around the gym and were able to pick and choose which jobs they wanted to visit.

Students were given worksheets with a number of prepared questions to ask the representatives.

All students were required to speak with at least three professionals and each had to ask them the same series of questions, which involved required education, starting salary, challenges, future opportunities, job duties, etc.

“I just like going around and just learning about everything, learning about opportunities for life after school,” said student Landon Shallanberger. “I liked the orthodontics because it’s just the career that I’ve always wanted to pursue. I’ve just always been interested in it.”

For the professionals who took part, they enjoyed the day just as much as the students, if not more.

“We seen a lot of our customers today. So it’s always amazing to be able to high five these kids,” said Eric Cabrera, who co-owns PCH Shave Ice & Boba with his wife Diane. “We’re so used to seeing them on a weekly basis with their families and we’re having a great time. We want to be able to make sure that the kids know that there’s a lot of different job opportunities and a lot of business opportunities, especially if they have an idea that they may want to be a business owner or something.”

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