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The Jobs They Want: High School Scholars Get Glimpse of Future Professions

Eager students flooded into the gymnasium at Wellspring Preparatory High School recently, ambitiously scanning the perimeter of the space in search of their futures. Standing behind tables and flanked by banners, posters, and video screens were representatives of local companies and a variety of professions for the school’s first career fair.

Wellspring Prep students walking around career fair.
Wellspring scholars make their way around the career fair.

The fair started as the brainchild of the school’s ninth grade English teachers, who began having career talks on Fridays. A local professional was brought in each Friday to speak with the classes. Wellspring Dean of High School Aaron Noordhoek saw an opportunity to hold a career fair for the entire school, which outperforms the district.
Wellspring Prep student talks with Comprehensive Therapy Center rep.Students speak with a representative of Comprehensive Therapy Center during the career fair.
“We looked at what their career interests are and tried to get a few different employees in each category,” Noordhoek said. “These were the top for our school, so we worked to pick out employers who would be specific within those areas.”
Interest areas included architecture and construction; business and marketing; government, law and public safety; STEM and manufacturing; arts and communication; education and training; and heath science.

Wellspring Prep student talks to LM Visuals employees.
A Wellspring student talks to LM Visuals employees.

Companies represented at the fair included C2AE, First Companies, GMB Architecture and Engineering, TowerPinkster, Clark & Clark Real Estate, LaFleur Marketing, Lake Michigan Credit Union, LM Visuals, Kent County Department of Public Works, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, United Bank of Michigan (lawyer), Array of Engineers, Delta Airlines, Lear Corporation, Jamie Lynn Cheeks Photography, Mosaic Film Experience, Protégé Game Studios, Empire Beauty School, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Synergy Wellness Academy, Comprehensive Therapy Center, Family Friends Veterinary Hospital, Gift of Life Michigan, Keystone Pharmacy, Trinity Health, Gordon Food Service, and Grand Rapids Promise Zone.

Wellspring Prep student talks with Kent County Dept. of Public Works rep.
A Kent County Department of Public Works employee writes something down for a student.

Noordhoek said the students received advice on how to ask appropriate questions and tips on active listening. A game element was also introduced to encourage scholars to visit companies outside of their normal interest areas.

“The students will have a bingo game when they go around to fill in and they’ll turn that in when they finish and if they have a bingo, they’ll win a prize provided by some of the companies that are participating.”

Wellspring Prep students talk with Delta Airlines co-pilot.
Delta Airlines First Officer Jack Ventimiglia speaks with students about being a co-pilot.

The fair was open to all students in the school not currently testing and was broken up into two sections for a total of about 200 students.
Great work showing the future to your scholars, Wellspring!

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About Wellspring Preparatory High School
Wellspring Preparatory High School is a tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving students in ninth through 12th grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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