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Hundreds of students visit RIVEROAK Tech’s Career Fair

Above: Career Fair at RIVEROAK Technical College in Live Oak. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


By Tami Stevenson

Hundreds of students from the North Florida area, including public, private and home schooled students, visited RIVEROAK’s Third Annual Career Fair in Live Oak recently. Students and adults alike were given the opportunity to see what career and technical education opportunities are out there. From practical nursing to culinary, masonry and construction RIVEROAK is proud to offer 19 different programs to choose from and each of them were represented at the career fair along with 50 other community organizations and businesses. Some of the other organizations were military, law enforcement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and many others.

A line of students formed around the Suwannee County Sheriff’s booth as many waited their turn to test the “drunk goggles”. Students would walk a snake-like pattern on the sidewalk while wearing the goggles.

Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John explained there were differing strengths. One was a blood level alcohol simulation of .06 and the other was .17 to .23.

St. John said, “The kids have been having a good time but it’s educational to them too. (Now) they know that it’s dangerous to drink and walk, let alone drive.”

Chief Deputy Ron Colvin and Mike Landis, School Officer for RIVEROAK, were helping students “walk the line.”
K9 units from the Suwannee team along with Bradford County and Lake City Police Department also conducted demonstrations earlier in the day.

Officer Dwain Mobley from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said they come every year and usually bring an alligator but this year he didn’t have the opportunity to get one. He usually catches one from the wild just for the event, but colder weather made it difficult this year, he said. Mobley was born and raised in Suwannee County and is now in his 25th year with FWC.

RIVEROAK Principal/Director Mary Keen said, “We were very pleased with the participation and attendance at

RIVEROAK’s Third Annual Career Fair.” She explained the goal was to showcase RIVEROAK’s programs to invite potential students along with their local industries and agencies to afford individuals the opportunity to learn more about educational opportunities, the job market and the importance of having a skilled workforce.

Student & Community Affairs Coordinator Julie Ulmer said, “We appreciate the business support, it’s wonderful to have so many high school students that are going to be graduating and going into the workforce, to see all the programs we have to offer and what job opportunities that are out there in our community.”

Student Jacob Bowers volunteered to help Adult Basic Ed Teacher Tracey Henderson supply water to all the booths for the day. Bowers is currently completing his Florida High School Diploma with RIVEROAK and said he had just applied to both the Marines and the Navy, on career day, to see which one will accept him first.

L-R: Volunteer/student Dustin Smith, Adult Basic Ed Teacher Tracey Henderson and volunteer/student Jacob Bowers paused long enough for a photo at the career fair. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


Another student/volunteer for the day was Dustin Smith. While holding down a job at the same time, Smith has only one more test to take before completing his GED. He is hoping to one day get a job in maintenance with the school system or law enforcement.

Henderson said, “We could not do this without our maintenance and custodial people, along with the volunteers. It has been fabulous. The school is so tickled for the support of the community and the organizations that came. They are showing students what’s out there.”

RIVEROAK Technical College is located at 415 SW Pinewood Drive in Live Oak. Anyone wanting more information about the college and its programs may call 386-647-4200.

Elementary students were given the opportunity to pet some of the dogs from the K9 unit.
-RIVEROAK Photo by Terry Vickers


Medic Helicopter L-R: Larry Pesek (Pilot), Tommy Cochran (Flight Nurse), and Aaron Johns (Flight Medic). -RIVEROAK Photo by Terry Vickers

RIVEROAK staff answering questions and helping students at the career fair. L-R: Career Pathways Coordinator Jeff Lee, Career and Technical Ed Coordinator Julie Ulmer, Administrative Assistant Laura Herandez, Financial Aid Coordinator Sherry Peppers and RIVEROAK Principal/Director Mary Keen. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


Surgical Technician booth with students L-R: Mary Vickers, Sharon Scutt, Madisyn Trawick, Elizabeth James, Maiah Cason and instructor Traci West. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


The Suwannee County Fire Department had students lined up for the firefighters at the firetruck.
-SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson