Representatives of more than 20 colleges, trade schools, employers and the U.S. military took part in the annual career at Perris Lake High School, the alternative campus near Rotary Park south of Fourth Street.
Most brought brochures, pens, candy, keychains and other trinkets.
Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough brought his race car, which appears regularly at the Perris Auto Speedway pacing the start of many racing programs at the popular half-mile dirt track.
The car drew plenty of attention from graduating seniors thinking about post high-school employment opportunities.
Yarbrough took the opportunity to tell students about the importance of getting into a professional auto-repair school so they can get the certification that opens the door to healthy, steady paychecks. He owns two businesses—an auto-repair shop and a towing company—and calls building race cars “what we do for fun.”
“It’s a good life if you are willing to work hard,” he told a group of Perris Lake students who posed for pictures beside and inside the race car. “It’s important for us as City officials to get out and talk to students about their career options. I hope we can inspire some, spark their interest and get them into a career that they love.”
School counselor Kathleen Reid said many Perris Lake students faced challenges that left them many credit-hours behind their peers. They’ve since caught up and are on-track to graduate. Career day means that “the light is at the end of the tunnel” and it’s time to start planning for life in an adult world.
She thanked Yarbrough and all the other career representatives for taking the time to encourage the students.
“We are grateful to show them that there are a lot of job options waiting for them,” Reid said.
Students who gathered around Yarbrough’s race car peppered him with questions about it. The most popular: How much horsepower under the hood? About 280. What’s the fastest it’s been driven? Not more than 100 mph. What’s it made from? Very light sheet metal to minimize weight, maximize speed.
Jose Godoy, 17, said cars are his passion. He built one from the ground up, a three-year process. He said he appreciated the opportunity to talk cars with Yarbrough. He’s considering a career under the hood.
“It motivates you to do something bigger with your life,” Godoy said.
Ricardo Lucatero, 17, said he works on the family pickup. He’s redone the brakes, intake system and ignition.
“There’s a lot of pleasure in knowing that you’ve done the work yourself,” he said.