MONTREAL, OCTOBER 28, 2008- Over 3,000 English Montreal School Board (EMSB) students from Secondary V and adult education attended the ninth annual Career Fair, which took place October 21 and 22 at St. Pius X Adult Centre in Ahuntsic. Nearly 30 booths represented CEGEPs, colleges, universities, vocational centres, specialized vocational schools and the Canadian Armed Forces and Naval Reserves, which offered the students a wide range of post-secondary education and career options for them to consider for the future.
Noted media personality Malik Shaheed, a Westmount High School graduate, was the event’s emcee for the second consecutive year. He introduced a special video produced by Laurier Macdonald media teacher Charles Northey and his students and facilitated testimonials from students and teachers about post secondary education and vocational courses.
The keynote speaker for the opening ceremonies was Isabelle Bouchard from McDonald’s Canada. A graduate of the EMSB’s St. Dorothy Elementary School in St. Michel and Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount, she pursued her post-secondary studies towards a career as a police officer. While she was in high school, Isabelle started working at McDonald’s as a way to make some extra money. After she got her college diploma she realized the opportunities that a career at McDonald’s could bring and she began to work her way up within the company’s management team. She was promoted to second assistant manager in 2003, first assistant manager in 2005 and restaurant manager in 2006, becoming the company’s youngest person at this position at the age of 23. Recently, she was promoted as a liaison between McDonald’s and its suppliers for the Eastern Canada region, once again becoming the youngest individual to hold this post and the first woman to do so.
“I always wanted to achieve to bigger things in life, and that’s important, because in life, you never know what’s going to happen,” Ms. Bouchard stated.
Ms. Bouchard also urged the audience to keep their options ope and seize any opportunity that comes their way. “Don’t worry about the judgement of others. Focus on yourself and follow your heart,” she said. “Right now, I’m very happy because I like what I do and I’m very passionate about my career.”
The Career Fair concluded with its first ever open house on the evening of October 22, which had a strong turnout from parents and students from the board’s adult education evening classes.
The Career Fair is supported almost entirely by corporate sponsorship, principally Jack Dym of Pipe and Piling Supplies, RBC Royal Bank and a host of others. At the RBC kiosk Oct. 21 was Benoit Huot a paralympic swimmer who has just returned from the Paralympic Games in Beijing where he won four bronze medals (men’s freestyle - S10, men’s 200m Individual Medley – SM10, men’s 50m Freestyle –S10 and men’s 400m Freestyle –S10) and on Oct. 22 Sandra Lizé, a member of the Canadian Olympic water polo team who participated in the Sydney Games in 2000 and the Pan American Games in Rio in 2007.
During the year Secondary III students will be given guided tours of each of the EMSB’s vocational schools. On March 20, 2009 a special prelude to Career Fair will be held at the Centre Pierre Charbonneau for Secondary IV students. This event will include a dynamic, interactive program featuring live music and information.
Susan Freed, a special needs consultant in the EMSB’s Student Services Department and a former guidance counsellor, served as chair of the Career Fair.