iluna@valleytowncrier.com

McALLEN - McAllen ISD held it’s annual Endorsement and Career Expo geared towards eighth-grade students to make decisions heading into high school next year.

High schools from the district were showing their elective offerings in orchestra, art, theatre and robotics.

Local and federal law enforcement agencies like McAllen PD and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol were also present at the expo, informing students on what it takes to become a law enforcer.

“We’re giving them a quick explanation of what we (McAllen PD) do on the job,” said Domingo Chapa, McAllen PD officer. “What the requirements are, what the pay is, the demands for the police department - it’s a job that’s in very high demand.”

As students were lining up the booth to seek more information from the law enforcement agencies, eager Jaxson Quintanilla from Morris Middle School made his way up to the front to try on some riot gear.

Quintanilla could be seen in awe with the gear as officer Chapa was demonstrating how to use it.

When asked ‘how did it feel to try on the gear?’ Quintanilla replied, “It felt good. It made me feel strong.”

Public services and health science were just a few of the booths Quintanilla was visiting and said working in law enforcement or as a first responder builds courage.

He would be the first in his family to work in such an agency if he chooses, he shared.

As for the high school electives, McHi’s theatre director, Jason Barrera shares what the arts and humanities electives have to offer.

“Exploring the arts and learning more about the skills of storytelling, creativity and collaboration can help prepare them for success in any field,” Barrera said.

McHi’s theatre students talked to the soon-to-be freshmen about the skills they’ve built by being in the elective. Awards from productions were on display to show what being in an extra curriculum can do.

Barrera advises if a student is planning to enroll in an elective - to make it a commitment to learning a new passion.

“We want them to understand the different pathways of electives they can take so that they can graduate with a specific endorsement,” he said.

Officer Chapa’s message to the eighth graders that day was for them to give back to the community, especially the ones they live in when choosing a career.