St. John the Baptist Parish College and Career Fair a resounding success

Published 5:19 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

The second St. John the Baptist Parish College and Career Fair, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Tri Parishes and Junior Achievement, marked a resounding success, with a multitude of students and businesses coming together to explore educational and career opportunities.

The event, held at 321 Events in LaPlace on Oct. 11, was orchestrated through meticulous planning by the high school curriculum team, Junior Achievement and the Kiwanis Club. The fair aimed to offer a wide array of options to students, allowing them to make informed decisions about their future.

St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools Interim Superintendent Kendria Spears said, “We have our high school curriculum team that was very hands-on with meeting with Junior Achievement and Kiwanis Club and making sure that the events were planned, the vendors were located, and colleges were invited.”

Junior Achievement President Larry Washington emphasized the importance of broadening students’ horizons. 

“You don’t know what you don’t know, and oftentimes young people have a very narrow view of what opportunities they could have in the future,” Washington said. “This exposes them to many different pathways they can take.”

Junior Achievement operates across thirteen parishes in Louisiana, and their expansion into St. John was driven by the school district’s commitment to the fair. 

Washington said, “St. John decided last year that this was a priority to them, and we were happy to step up and be a part of it.”

Kiwanis Club President Dayna James echoed the sentiment of community involvement.

“It’s near and dear to my heart. The kids are near and dear to my heart. This is how I give back to the community,” James said. “I feel that St. John needed this right now.”

The fair featured not only colleges but also numerous businesses and industry partners, with many offering apprenticeships and internships.

James said, “We have people here who are offering apprenticeships, internships. Business owners that may want to hire them now.”

The event’s past success has even inspired Junior Achievement and the Kiwanis Club to replicate it in nearby parishes. 

“We spoke with the superintendent in St. James,” James said. “We are preparing for March to have a college fair in St. James.”

The College and Career Fair in St. John the Baptist Parish is a new addition for the school system, and it seems like it is here to stay.

“We’re really pleased with the turnout, both because the schools bought in and, as you can clearly see, the young people are engaged and loving it, too,” Washington said.