High schoolers don’t always have a career path picked out, but knowing their options is always a plus.
Colleges, businesses and technical schools assembled in the Ardmore Convention Center on Tuesday for the Carter County College and Career Fair, a recurring event created by Partners In Education and co-hosted by other organizations. This year, The Chickasaw Nation co-hosted the event for the second time.
About 400 students attended last year’s fair. This year, the number climbed to more than 600. The day was split into morning and afternoon sessions to accommodate students attending Southern Tech as well as students coming from area high schools.
Molly Riley, a Plainview senior, said she attended a fair last year. She said the fair is still helpful, even for students who already have a career path in mind.  
“I already had my decision made, but it helped me look in that direction more,” she said. “It was really helpful last year, just getting to look at the colleges and talk to the people about it.”
This year, students had a little extra motivation to make conversation with recruiters at the various tables. The Chickasaw Nation brought an archery tag court and gear, but students could only participate in the game once they collected three signatures from the college representatives’ tables and two from business’ tables.
Rhonda Glenn, with Murray State College, said her station provided students information about concurrent enrollment at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma as well as general information about the college.
“We had a lot of students who are juniors and seniors today, which was wonderful,” Glenn said. “We really got to show them that we are Murray State in Ardmore.”
She said during breaks, recruiters played a few rounds of archery tag as well.
Partners In Education Director Cynthia Pickens said this fair marked the second collaboration between The Chickasaw Nation and PIE. In the past, they’ve worked with Southern Tech to hold the fairs.
 Kevin Farve, academic and career advisor for The Chickasaw Nation, said the fair is a concise way to meet two of his department’s goals.
“We’re a youth program, and one of our requirements is to expose our native students to college and careers, so we figured this concept was the best way,” Farve said. “It’s not just our native students, it’s all of the schools.”