On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Orcas Island High School had its first Futures Fair since the onset of the pandemic, and its reception was largely positive. The fair offered an array of options, boasting traditional universities from both the US and Canada, representatives from multiple branches of the military, community colleges, and art schools all from the area surrounding Orcas Island. Although there were a few scheduling issues in the morning due to late-running ferries, eventually all of the college representatives arrived, and the private and more specific information sessions began, where students attended their pre-selected seminars. After this, the open fair began, and students drifted from booth to booth.
There were several highlights of this event for students, including the realization that there are more paths than they had previously thought, the opportunity to learn how to ask questions about the college process, and of course, the surprisingly popular United States Army water bottles. The event went down well and was seen as generally educational, as well as including some eye-opening revelations of possible futures.
Despite the Futures Fair being well-received, some students commented that they felt it was rather surface level outside of the specialized information sessions. Although there were varying careers and schools available to review, essentially all of the presenters were trying to do the same thing: sell themselves. While this can be great because it allows new ideas and pathways to be explored, it does lead to a certain degree of shallowness and can feel overwhelming. Leaving, it seemed as if there were many differing options, and every single one had been presented as appealing, which made it difficult to come to any concrete conclusions. This hole in information about career exploration could potentially be more focused on, allowing the student body to learn more about how to eliminate opportunities. Despite this, the overall event was helpful and presented something fresh that none of the current classes had seen, which was exciting and helpful.