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North Marion students get hands-on experience for potential career in the industry.

COURTESY PHOTO: SHERIE MORAN - North Marion Senior Caedyn Laninga hoists tires with a backhoe under the direction of an experienced worker at the Oregon State Fairgrounds as part of Construction Day. Several students donned a hardhat for Willamette Valley Construction Career Day on April 19 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.

Students from all over the region came for a chance at hands-on construction experience, including North Marion High School Career and Technical Education Teacher Sherie Moran's students: Ethan Gianella, Joseph Havel, Kohl Kaiser, Caedyn Laninga, Tyler Rooper, Ben Rose, Ethan Wampole, Dylan Herron, and Jordan Williamson.

"Personally, I think going down to the Construction Day at the Salem fairgrounds was a fun experience and showed me a lot of different options I have if I want to go into the construction industry," Rooper said. "My favorite part was there were a lot of hands-on things we could participate in. I'm glad Moran gave us the opportunity to go because it really opened my eyes to all the different jobs."

Several stations with construction professionals offering activities or a chance to discuss their industry were spread throughout the fairgrounds, including small companies and large ones like Knife River Corp., a national company that provides construction materials and contracting services. Salem-based Chemeketa Community College offered information on its apprenticeship programs and classes.

The Construction Day activities completely engaged students.

"Some students were hammering plexiglass, others had to string a loop along a copper pipe without touching it or setting off lights and a buzzer (think of the game Operation)," Moran said. "Some practiced their hammering skills by building a small plywood toolbox, while others asked questions or spun a wheel to get some cool swag."

After lunch, North Marion students had the chance to climb on heavy-utility vehicles including backhoes, cranes and excavators. Some students even had the chance to operate them.

"I think they all had a good time. Ethan Wampole said that Knife River wants to hire him," Moran said. "I like exposing them to the many different types of job opportunities available with just a high school diploma and some drive and determination to work hard, be on time, and show up every day."

Jillian Daley is North Marion School District's communications specialist. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-678-7138.


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