By Leigh Gentry

About 4,000 Acadiana high school sophomores got the chance Tuesday to dream a little while also swallowing a dose of reality at the 21st annual Career Connections expo.

The large-scale event invited students from Lafayette, Iberia, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes to explore futures as helicopter pilots, funeral directors and everything in between. Employees from area businesses and higher education institutions were on hand to answer questions and provide demonstrations.

The event also featured the Reality Store, where students cycled through five stations — family life, housing, transportation, money tree, and leisure and entertainment. At each, the students learned real-life costs of such things and they complete a budget.

At “money tree” volunteers told them to expect the unexpected like a broken refrigerator or speeding ticket. The family life station included information on costs of child care, clothing and groceries. “Leisure and entertainment” focused on things that might interest high-schoolers most.

That reality check is coupled with the career fair side of the expo to  expand students’ interests and open their eyes to new career opportunities.

Excerpt from article originally published in Daily Advertiser, February 19th, 2020