Truck & Such Expo introduces elementary students to future careers

Published 4:12 pm Monday, April 17, 2023

For the second straight year, Conkwright and Justice Elementary School students gathered to learn about different job possibilities as adults.

On Friday, the Truck & Such Career Expo allowed students from kindergarten through fourth grade to get hands-on experience and education from different professionals in the community, many of whom brought trucks for the engagement.

Along with counselors and other school staff, the event was largely put together with the help of family resource coordinators Eva Miller of Justice and Michelle Mitchell of Conkwright.

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Last year, a similar event occurred under a slightly different name: Touch-A-Truck.

“We decided last year that, because our schools are so close to each other, we— =instead of having a small career fair for each school – wanted to work together to be able to provide a big one,” said Robyn Jones, a counselor at Justice Elementary School. “We could have not just volunteers at a table talking to kids, but actually bring the touch a truck piece to it to where kids could come and actually explore different types of careers that are not just an office-based career, but something that’s more technical as well.”

Different organizations from the community were more than willing to offer their services.

The Clark County Fire Department was present, with students able to walk inside a truck to see what was stored.

Also, Thoroughbred Diesel was present.

The business, described on its website as a “one-stop diesel performance shop for everything you need,” brought along a 2018 RAM 2500 heavy-duty pickup truck.

“They love the truck, and they love connecting something with other things,” said Chris Shearer, an outside salesman with Thoroughbred Diesel. “We talked about how diesel trucks are involved in farming and raising the food that they get to eat every single day and how without one you don’t have the other.”

With its YETI snow plow equipment, the Clark County Road Department appeared. Also present at the event were Wildcat Moving, the Winchester Public Works Department, Winchester Municipal Utilities and Kentucky Utilities.

“They love seeing the utilities machine go all the way up,” said Kari McGrath, a counselor at Conkwright Elementary School. “It’s so hands-on and live-action right in front of them.”

While the trucks certainly engaged the youth, other stations were also available to learn from.

Officer Kelly Webster of the Winchester Police Department was present, as was Crockett, a five-year-old black labrador retriever trained as a narcotic and tracking dog

Students were allowed to see the vehicle used to house Crockett, equipped with a thermometer.

“He has a dog kennel in the car it’s got more room than what you expect,” Webster said. “If [the thermometer] gets up to 82 degrees, my lights go off, my windows roll down, and this fan kicks on so that he can stay cool and also alert people.”

Local businesses and organizations which may not have had a truck or vehicles to display included Freedom Realty and Property Management, Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, Summit Community Bank, Home Depot, the United States Army and Clark County Public Library.

The event also featured bounce houses for students to enjoy, while JROTC and George Rogers Clark High School’s chapter of JAG – or Jobs for America’s Graduates – showed up to advocate and volunteer.

“We’re here to guide the kids around and also learn about it ourselves,” said sophomore Jonah Doss, student president of JAG. “JAG [is] an amazing organization, and I really have learned a lot through it and grown as a person.”

Being engaged with the equipment was far from the only benefit for students, as many had an eye on the future.

“They’re asking questions about, ‘how many years did you go to school? How long did it take what do you do on a daily basis”, noted McGrath. “We’re proud of them for asking questions about all of the careers.”