Bringing the bling

Local high school students had the opportunity to get a hands-on approach to college life and career exploration at Iowa Central Community College Thursday.

Iowa Central hosted the annual career exploration day for ninth- through 12th-grade students, bringing a few hundred visitors to campus to explore more than 30 different career areas the college has to offer.

“This is a day where any prospective students can come visit campus,” said Sara Condon, director of enrollment management at Iowa Central. “We have kids here, freshmen through seniors, to explore the career and technical programs we offer.”

During the day, students had the opportunity to participate in and learn about programs and athletics available at Iowa Central. They attended classes that offered hands-on activities, ate lunch on campus and took campus tours.

“We have them attending classes in everything from dental hygiene and nursing to automotive technology and welding,” said Condon.

Arielle Walker, a student at North Iowa High School in Buffalo Center, attended the dental hygiene session where she got a firsthand look into the daily routine of a hygienist.

“It was interesting,” said Walker. “I really enjoyed the dental hygiene instructor. She was really fun. We learned about taking X-rays and anesthesia.”

One area that proved to be popular with the girls were the Health & Beauty Management sessions in which students had the chance to tour La’James International College, get glitter tattoos, hair color chalking, and feathers and bling strands for their hair from LJIC students.

“It was really fun,” said Katelyn Jacobsen, who goes to Manson Northwest Webster High School. “We got to tour the spa, get color chalk in our hair and little makeovers.”

Taylor McMannus, also from Manson Northwest Webster, enjoyed the Health & Beauty session too.

“I was looking forward to learning about La’James and massage therapy,” she said.

Another popular session was in the Culinary Arts program where students worked with Chef Michael Hirst at Willow Ridge Restaurant preparing steak and lobster. They also made a variety of desserts.

The reward at the end of the culinary session? Sampling their creations.

“It’s been fun tasting all of these different foods,” said Colin Bulten, another Manson Northwest Webster student. “It was interesting to learn about the program and I was really surprised by how much money you could make by being a chef.”