Local guitarist Jimmy Davis talks to students at Madison Junior High School about the realities of the music business. He said that if any of the students want to make it in the business, they will have to put just as much time into learning their instrument as a doctor or lawyer would spend learning for their profession. “But even then, there’s no guarantee,” Davis said. “There have been years when I only made $8,000 for the whole year. That’s not even enough to eat. Another year I made over $100,000. It comes and goes.” (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
Local guitarist Jimmy Davis talks to students at Madison Junior High School about the realities of the music business. He said that if any of the students want to make it in the business, they will have to put just as much time into learning their instrument as a doctor or lawyer would spend learning for their profession. “But even then, there’s no guarantee,” Davis said. “There have been years when I only made $8,000 for the whole year. That’s not even enough to eat. Another year I made over $100,000. It comes and goes.” (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
A musician, an airline pilot and an engineer walk into a junior high school. But the result was no laughing matter. They, along with many other professionals, were at Madison Junior High School on Wednesday morning for the school's annual career fair.

Madison, Southwestern Middle and High School and Shawe Memorial High School all sent seventh-graders to attend the career fair for a chance to talk to professionals in a variety of fields.

Dawn Bottomley, Southwestern Middle and High School's counselor, said students were told to check off different career's they are interested in.

"We try to get a variety of different areas," Bottomley said. "Health care careers are very popular, law enforcement careers are very popular, aviation is very popular too."

Bottomley said the career fair gets students thinking about their future, which will carry over into next year. Each school involved in the fair sends their eighth-grade students to the school counselor to make a four-year plan.

"We want them to see what are their options out there," Bottomley said. "That's the bottom line. Get them thinking about their future."

"When I meet with those eighth-graders every year, I have several of them say 'I don't have a clue what I want to do.' And I say 'That's okay, but you have to have a goal.'"

Madison Junior High School counselor Jeanna Carter said she tells students all the time that high school will fly by.

"Right now they are starting to think about what they want to do, and that's our goal," Carter said.

She added that it's more difficult for people to afford changing majors in college now and it's much cheaper if students have a direction or goal heading into college.

Airline pilot Jim Leveille echoed that sentiment when he spoke to students in one of two sessions speakers volunteered to attend.

"Make a decision early," he told his crowded classroom of students. "At least set yourself down on some road. It makes things so much easier along the way."

Leveille has been volunteering at the career fair for several years, Bottomley said.

Volunteers were given a few basic items to talk about with students - how they got into the field and the salary range - but beyond that were able to discuss what they wanted.

Patrolman James Lee of the Madison Police Department discussed his career in the Marine Corps with students. Lee was an active Marine for five years before spending two years as a Marine reserve, and after that he spent two years in the Indiana National Guard before becoming a police officer.

"The military made me the man I am today," Lee said in his session.

Lee talked about each branch of the military with his students because he says the Marine Corps saved his life, and he thinks most people that go into the military can be similarly affected.

"My heart lies with the Marine Corps," he said. "There's no better thrill than to serve your country in the U.S. military."

According to Carter, getting the students interested in a career will give many students a reason to stay focused in school. And when students focus in school they come out more prepared for either college or their career.

"We'd like for them to have that 'aha moment' when they realize that," Carter said.