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Master Sgt. James Winslow talks with freshman Steven Morris — wearing a global positioning device on his back — and others during the Aviano High School Future Fair. Winslow, who is with an Air Force engineer unit, says the GPS is used for engineering work on runways. High school students got a chance Thursday to ask questions of people in dozens of professions and get advice on how they might pursue similar careers.
Master Sgt. James Winslow talks with freshman Steven Morris — wearing a global positioning device on his back — and others during the Aviano High School Future Fair. Winslow, who is with an Air Force engineer unit, says the GPS is used for engineering work on runways. High school students got a chance Thursday to ask questions of people in dozens of professions and get advice on how they might pursue similar careers. (Kent Harris / S&S)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Stefanie Fair thinks she might want to be a lawyer.

“I just think the law is really interesting,” the Aviano High School freshman said Thursday during the school’s Future Fair.

“They talk a lot,” she said with a laugh. “I talk a lot, too.”

She certainly asked her share of questions in the session she attended on law and security. George Ritter, an attorney whose wife is an active-duty airman at Aviano, didn’t mind the queries. After all, that’s what he and the dozens of other guests were there for.

Students essentially spent all day viewing short presentations by people in a variety of career fields, getting information about colleges and generally finding out some of the possibilities open to them after high school.

Principal Doug McEnery said the school moved away from the traditional college night in several aspects. The most obvious was that the event wasn’t held at night as it was last year.

“Our turnout was really less in the amount of kids we got,” he said of the night format.

Another significant shift was the emphasis on careers in addition to colleges. Representatives from several colleges attended and the library was filled with brochures from universities around the United States. But McEnery said educators realize that college might not be for everyone.

“You’ve got to continue your education, but it might not be the traditional four-year institution,” he said.

Some of the presenters appeared to back that up when they talked about their backgrounds.

Paolo Breda, a local national who sells furniture on base, said it doesn’t take a lot of training to do the job he does. But a certain personality is essential.

“This is my typical day,” he said. “Talk, talk, talk.”

Like many presenters, the first questions from students had to do with how much money they could earn in his profession.

Breda said someone could make a lot of money selling furniture. In fact, the figures he threw out opened a few eyes in the classroom.

But he said that wasn’t the most important aspect.

“You have to like what you do,” he said.

That was something that all the presenters seemed to agree on.

“Ultimately, when you get out of high school or college, you need to do something you enjoy,” said Lt. Col. John Owens, commander of the 31st Operations Support Squadron.

As part of his job, he flies F-16 Fighting Falcons.

In Owens’ case, that job involved getting a college degree and more specific training. He said his math and science backgrounds are very useful for a fighter pilot.

Others stressed history and political science. Some championed activities such as debate, athletics or student government. Students got the opportunity to hear a lot of mixed messages, because they could attend only seven of the 19 groupings during the course of the day.

“We wanted to offer as wide a view of the spectrum as we could,” McEnery said.

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