2011 Bezos Scholar Andrew Mitchell and his educator, Linda Safty-Unsworth, promoted career and technical pursuits for Helena High students in Montana through their Local Ideas Festival, the Helena High Career Fair.
Andrew wanted to help raise the graduation rate at Helena High School to help in creating a better-educated workforce and promote a flourishing community in Helena, Montana. After much planning and support from his team of peers, Andrew and Ms. Safty-Unsworth hosted the Helena High Career Fair in the spring of 2012.
The Helena High Career Fair gave students the freedom to explore their career interests and think about opportunities after high school graduation. During the school-wide event, each grade level had the opportunity to connect with more than 50 local businesses, nonprofits, and trades, such as firefighters, butchers, and lawyers for the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigative division. In addition to the Fair, sophomore students were paired with upper-class tutors and worked together throughout the year. This pairing helped to reinforce the importance of graduating from high school.
“The greatest success of our festival was reaching the community,” notes Andrew. “Ever since our Festival, there has been a vibrant buzz around the community about graduation. Our Superintendent of Public Instruction has been making a push for a Graduation Matters Montana initiative and our festival helped create more buzz for this larger movement.”