To the 6,000 eighth grade students across Adams County who attended the Adams County Commissioners’ Career Expo last November, it was just a field trip to learn about career options.
To Liam Snee, an eighth-grade student at Hulstrom K-8, it was an opportunity to use his first impression skills.
“I was really nervous at first,” Snee said after the event, “but after visiting with the first two employees I figured it out and started being more engaged and interested in making a great impression”
The Career Expo is an annual event for all eighth-grade students across the county. Eighth-grade students have the opportunity to visit with more than 120 businesses and 200 professionals from construction, healthcare and even the opera.
“Students are asked to meet with 3-5 businesses and 1-2 colleges during their hour-long visit and are coached by their school counselors to make a strong impression by looking the professionals in the eye with a firm handshake,” said Chuck Gross, Executive Director of the Adams County Education Consortium (ACEC), the sponsor of the event. “Then employers and colleges are asked to choose 10 students they met during the event who are the most professional, thoughtful and prepared.”
At the end of the event, ACEC recognizes the student who was nominated the most by participating professionals. Out of the 6,000 students in attendance, Snee was nominated by the most companies and colleges and was recognized by ACEC as the most-prepared student.
Gross said Snee was nominated by seven of the nine organizations he met, which is unprecedented, and believes he represents the best of what this event provides for students.
“This accomplishment by Liam reflects well on him and his family, but also on his school and district for preparing him for success,” he said. “These are the characteristics in students that prove to be helpful in future career success and life development.”
The goal of the event is to provide an experience for eighth-grade students to learn about future careers and learn critical interviewing skills. Snee does not know yet what he wants to do for his career but it is clear he excels at the soft skills this event aims to teach.
“I’m not sure why I won. I was just trying to be as enthusiastic and engaged as possible,” explained Snee. “I like initiating conversations and being self-driven. I know how important first impressions are and I made sure each one was memorable.”
The honor didn’t surprise Snee’s mother, Jenn, at all.
“This is just who Liam is and I’m so glad that he was recognized for being himself,” she said. “His friends tease him sometimes for always working so hard but he wasn’t there to win, he was just doing what he does well and he’s humbled to be recognized for it.”
Teasing aside, it turns out Snee’s friends had an added reason to appreciate his hard work in the end. His reward was a pizza party at his school with friends hosted by ACEC.
Snee will also be recognized at an Adams County Commissioners public meeting this spring.