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Oregon official Tobias Read offers college, career advice to North Marion Middle School AVID kids

COURTESY PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - State Treasurer Tobias Read encourages students to find work that fulfills them during a career presentation Nov. 14 in the North Marion Middle School library. Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read stopped by North Marion Middle School on Monday, Nov. 14, to treat students to a presentation on what he does and what his work means to him.

"Who is government?" Read asked the group of about 50 middle school students.

"You!" called out one student.

"Not me, all of us," Read said, gently.

The students were in the middle school's Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) elective classes, which are college- and career-focused courses featuring college visits and guest speakers. The treasurer explained to AVID students that his role is to manage the state government's money. There's a lot of it, about $112.8 billion in the 2021-23 biennium. However, Read did not dwell on numbers or in-depth political analysis in his presentation to students.

"I think if I keep talking, you're all going to fall asleep," he joked.COURTESY PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read delivered a career presentation at the North Marion Middle School library Nov. 14. Fifty students attended, all from the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Elective Classes, which focus on college and career readiness

Students asked him what his salary was ($72,000), whether he had met President Biden (yes), what his benefits were (great retirement pay), and why he decided to take this job.

When it came to that last question, Read offered students a tip about deciding what they want to do for a living. He chose his job because giving back through an elected office gave him a sense of purpose, and he recommended that students do the same.

"Do exactly what you want to create the life you want," Read said. "You should pick the career that gives you fulfillment."

That related to what another student asked, a seemingly simple question: "What are your hours?" For Read, there aren't set hours because of his commitment to public service.

"I'm always treasurer. … It's not a job where I have to track my time," he said. "It's a job where I have to do the work until it's done. I'm accountable to voters."

Read also sought to serve his voters (who, naturally, include the parents of North Marion students) while he was visiting the school, sharing flyers on Oregon State Treasury savings programs for retirement, disability and education.

The education program is called the Oregon College Savings Plan, which can be opened with a contribution of $25 and can lead to a tax credit of up to $300. The flyers that he distributed stated that students with this plan are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate.

Just before Read encouraged students to take their flyers home and had wrapped up his presentation, he took one last question from AVID teacher Chelsea Landry, who set up the visit. (Landry made the event happen with support from the Willamette Education Service District, which provides services to 21 school districts in Polk, Marion and Yamhill counties.)

"What was your major, and if someone is interested in government work or public service, what are some of the majors that they would get?" Landry asked him.

Read noted that he attended Willamette University, majoring in political science and minoring in economics. Yet he added that his favorite classes were Northwest literature and Jazz in America. He suggested that students take classes they're interested in and classes they're not interested in, exploring diverse subjects to discover what inspires them. COURTESY PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read delivered a career presentation at the North Marion Middle School library Nov. 14. Fifty students attended, all from AVID elective classes, which focus on college and career readiness.

"Then, find a way to use what you've learned to inspire your community," he said.

That's what Read had sought to do. He said that their pathways to a job may vary: a two- or four-year college, a trade school or an apprenticeship. Yet he noted that opportunities in the professional world abound for students.

"They're all available to you, and we are here to help you," Read said.

When Read's presentation was over, the students took a group photo with him. A few paused to get the treasurer's autograph and then rushed off to lunch. After a state-level leader had taken the time to provide a little college and career inspiration for AVID students, many of them were smiling, their eyes bright with hope for the future.

To share stories on the North Marion School District, email Communications Specialist Jillian Daley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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