Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Career fair at the CAN Academy

Yesterday, May 18, Hart and I were invited to the Austin CAN Academy, a charter school on Rosewood, to table during their career fair from 10 am to 2 pm. The school offers half-day class schedules to allow for students who work and/or have young children to care for. CAN focuses on students at risk for dropping out of high school. CAN students must have completed the 8th grade and the school accepts students up to age 21. Student enrollment has almost reached its capacity of about 400.
School staff had placed tables in the school's hallways and had purposely put us next to an Air Force recruiter so that students could more easily compare and contrast his materials and ours. That worked out fine for us. Because part of the career fair involved classroom speakers (not us), there were some quiet times when we visited with the recruiter, who was a native Austinite who said he joined the Air Force about 8 years ago when he was laid off from Motorola. We invited him to join us when he is discharged -- but he said he probably will stay in. He did take some of our Americorps literature for his girlfriend...

We had quite a few students come by the table during their lunch times -- although many came by mainly to get our signatures on cards they were required to get filled out to show they had done their career fair duty ...

The school halls were filled with large, really nicely done paintings by students. The subjects were well-known figures like Gandhi and Che. A painting of President Obama hung just inside the school entrance. Above our table was a painting of Stevie Ray Vaughn, which, with our "make art, not war" message, was appropriate. The paintings were accompanied by text written by students about the paintings' subjects. I took a photo of the info sheet, "Violent VS. Nonviolent Resistance" posted next to the painting of Gandhi that compared him with Che. The second paragraph begins: "Is a violent leader necessary to cause social change? The answer is NO." (If you double click on the photo above, you'll get a larger, more readable version.)

I think the Gandhi painting in the hall led more students to be able to say something about Gandhi on our peace wheel, even though, in general, the CAN students seemed less interested in the wheel than students have been in other schools. Not sure why. They liked the "I think for myself" buttons a lot, and several took Addicted to War books and Arlington West dvds.

Our table was right across from the teachers' lounge, so several teachers and staff came by the table and spoke with us, especially ESL teacher, Marcus Denton, who is shown talking with Hart in one of the above photos. Marcus was familiar with our group and had seen this blog, and he was curious about our views on the peace movement and organizing in general. It was great to be able to talk with him.

The school catered a wonderful lunch for all the career fair tablers. We felt very welcomed. Thanks, CAN Academy!

Above are some photos from the school hallways and our table.

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