By MIKE FERGUSON
Of the Baker City Herald
Six hundred Baker High School students got a glimpse at their workaday future Thursday when they took in their first-ever Career Day.
The event featured more than 40 area presenters, who spoke on the joys, travails and, in some cases, the meager pay that their jobs provide.
After students attended three job seminars of their choice, they spent an hour in the schools two gymnasiums, where about 40 companies, government agencies and educational institutions had set up displays.
For the grand finale a drawing that capped off the mornings activities sophomore Mike Lunyou and freshman Geof Elwood won computer systems donated by the organizing committee, Behlen Manufacturing, Lumbermans Building Center and Davis Computer Services.
The teachers I spoke with told me their students thought the day was worthwhile, said event coordinator Joyce ONeal. The committee thought it was an enormous success, especially for a first-time effort. There were a couple minor glitches, and one school cancelled out at the last minute, but overall it was a great day for our children.
Most presenters offered two or three sessions for up to 25 students per session. April Farlow, the first-year athletic trainer at Eastern Oregon University, regaled students with tales of how she cared for Keith Van Horn, currently of the New Jersey Nets, when she worked as a trainer at the University of Utah.
Like most jobs that are really interesting, Farlows requires plenty of studying. She holds an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology and a masters degree in Womens Health.
Salaries may approach $30,000 per year with a graduate degree, she said, but at 14 hours per day, seven days per week, Farlow figures she makes about $5 per hour.
Still, shes proud she can help athletes to get back into games or back in the training room soon after they are injured. Farlow displayed many of the tools of her trade, from inflatable and moldable splints to gel squeeze patches that are placed on blisters.
She even pulled a tuning fork out of her bag. When the musical device is struck and placed on an athletes bone, a trainer can tell where a stress fracture is developing, she said.
A pair of former airline employees current Baker City police officer Jay Lohner, a former pilot, and Ann Louden, who worked as a flight attendant for TWA spoke fondly of their days of getting paid to fly.
Before I worked for TWA, I had been in an airplane exactly one time, Louden said. It was a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world. On the down side, we worked long hours, spent many days away from home, and lived out of a suitcase, which gets old fast.
And we had to deal with our share of nasty people but every experience you have helps you the next time.
Lohner took early retirement 18 months ago to move to Baker City and work for the police department. He suggested that students interested in aviation first learn to fly, then make their living teaching others to fly while they build up their hours in the cockpit. With additional ratings instrument, multi-engine and others pilots can be hired by regional or national airlines, where they can expect a very comfortable living, he said.
Piloting is within everyones reach, he told students. All it takes is a level head and good communication skills.
Those same skills have helped Pendleton native Janet Freeman, who started the Portland-based Betty Rides snowboarding clothing line for women in 1994 and cracked the $1 million sales mark for the first time last year.
I sewed my first hats on my kitchen table, and I still have a copy of the first check we ever cashed, an order from Timberline Lodge, she said.
Freeman is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York. As she was starting Betty Rides in the evening and on weekends, she retained her day job with an established sportswear firm. She even attended a large San Diego trade show disguised in a wig and sunglasses so she wouldnt be spotted by her employer.
These days, her husband, a graphic artist, provides everything from design elements to specification sheets that are e-mailed to the companys Hong Kong factory and translated to Chinese along the way.
Her company name came from a friend, who called every beautiful woman he ever met Betty, and rides, which Freeman thought was an empowering name for women.
Snowboarding is still a male-dominated sport, she said, and were trying to help change that.
And where does Freeman receive feedback on new clothing she designs?
From kids, she says. Fifteen-year-old girls are constantly telling me how Im doing.