Two Halifax County students received $50 Visa gift cards for their participation in the sixth annual SOVA Career ChoICE Youth Expo.

Ninth-grader Kaitlyn Reaves and seventh-grader Kaleel Harvey were two of 24 Southern Virginia student drawing winners selected for attending the event and completing both pre- and post-Expo surveys.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research organizes the annual SOVA Career ChoICE Youth Expo with support from a multitude of businesses and organizations throughout the region, including the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and New College Institute.

Over 50 different entities come together each year to give students an opportunity to see the variety of career opportunities available in Southern Virginia through hands-on activities.

Since 2014, the SOVA Career Choice Youth Expo has been held in Chatham, and attracts over 4,000 middle and high school students annually from Halifax, Henry, Mecklenburg, Patrick and Pittsylvania counties and the cities of Danville and Martinsville.

For 2020, IALR and SVHEC are hoping to collaborate to add a second career expo in the eastern part of the region. For school systems east of Halifax County, the distance and travel time to Chatham present a potential barrier that may limit their access to the Expo.

SOVA Career ChoICE-East would remove that barrier and give an additional 2,150 students in seventh through 10th grade an opportunity to engage in hands-on career exploration. Those interested in getting involved with the 2020 event should contact Jessie Vernon at jessie.vernon@ialr.org.