AMERICAN CANYON — More than 700 job seekers — all of them teenagers — mixed with 30 potential employees Wednesday at American Canyon High School’s first Career Day.

Banks, real estate offices, schools, manufacturers and the military were all represented. “We have a full house right now,” said Mayra Becerra, a counselor at the school.

The timing seemed right. “Some businesses are hiring for the summer,” she said. “The variety is the best.”

Student Stephen Pasqual said he went to “quite a few” booths. “They helped me think about my future,” he said.

“For me, I like the Navy,” he said. “I really want to go to the military. It’s still Navy, but l look at the Marines sometimes. They look very respected.”

Al Carajal was thinking about a career in the music industry before Career Day. “But after seeing all this, I think there’s so much more,” he said. “I have some thinking to do.”

Dalany Webb said the career fair gave her some job prospects. “I went to the real-estate one and the Noah’s Ark school,” she said. “That one is hiring summer workers.”

Job search is one area the school doesn’t really get into, according to Becerra. “We need to be helping to be more proactive,” she said. “Not all students go to college.”

A raffle added interest. “The businesses were generous to provide prizes for a raffle,” Becerra said. “We will have the raffle every ten minutes.”

Becerra said they plan to expand on this year’s success, next year.

“We’re planning to make it stronger,” she said. “One thing I want to do next year is to prepare students with questions they could be ready with.”

Elisa Velasquez was there representing Mezzetta Foods. “We are actually offering a summer internship in whatever career they are interested in,” she said. “We’re very willing to work with the applicant to fit them with something they are interested in.”

Velasquez said she has had a good response. “We have a large crowd,” she said. “They are taking applications and turning them in.”

For Mezzetta, finding employees can be a challenge, Velasquez said. “Due to the wineries being around, it’s a little bit hard,” she explained. “The wineries are a little seasonal. We provide longer term (employment) than the wineries.”

“A lot of people don’t know we’re here, but we’re getting the word out that we are a local brand in the Napa Valley,” Velasquez said.

The most popular booths, by far, were those of the military. The Army, Navy and Marines were there.

Marine Sgt. Tony Spurlin said the questions he heard most from the students were, “What do I have to do to join? What are the qualifications? And, what’s the big difference between us and other branches?”

Spurlin feels that the reason everyone knows a relative who was a Marine is because they don’t keep it a secret. “The Marine Corps is such a proudful group,” he said. “Once you’re a Marine, you’re always a Marine. It’s an elite title to hold.”

“But a lot of people aren’t qualified to be Marines,” he said.

Becerra said the school collaborated with the City of American Canyon Parks and Recreation Department to put on Career Day.

The students attended the event during their Humanities class.

(10) comments


My son is not interested in college. He is interested in a career as a police officer. He has enlisted with the Marines, as a way to gain experience and to serve and protect this country! For all of those who feel that the military should not be allowed to attend these high school career days, I respectfully submit to you that is a respected and valuable opportunity for a career. Simply because it is not one of your choices, please do not be so arrogant as to assume to limit the choices for someone else.

Just Concerned
Just Concerned

You missed the point Madison... recruiters on campus.

Madison Jay Hamilton
Madison Jay Hamilton

It's called the poverty draft.

The U.S. has hundreds of overseas bases in over a hundred countries. Gotta maintain the global empire!

The U.S. spends over a trillion dollars per year maintaining its global empire. That money could be better spent maintaining infrastructure right here at home. Perhaps we could have better schools if so much money wasn't being spent on illegal, immoral occupations of other countries.

Right now, the U.S. is spending $2 billion EACH WEEK on its illegal, immoral occupation of Afghanistan. And $800 million of that is BORROWED.

Such a waste of human and financial capital.

Just Concerned
Just Concerned

Some people live in a vacuum thinking the world revolves around the Napa Valley. There are plenty of reasons to have military recruiters at high schools. I think almost all men and women should serve. Why, Education-Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, worth about $130K toward college or trade school (no student loan); Money–excellent pay, no costs for meals or room and board; Medical–benefits are awesome. No annual fees, deductibles or co-pays; Builds Leadership & Confidence–Desperately lacking in locally; Career–Get a retirement at 20 years, collect pay immediately; Travel-There’s a real world out there; Camaraderie-Knowing that people will do anything to protect you and you in turn would do the same for them; Direction-Gives young men and women a place to get experience and figure out what direction to take in life. Above all, Honor–No other reason than to give back to this great country.

sgt spurlin
sgt spurlin

I like how I served in the marines for 8 years going on 9. I asked to come back and recruit in the bay area after my 4th combat deployment because I remember being that 17 year old that didn't want to go to college, but didn't want to sit at home living with my parents working as a bus boy. I wanted more, that's why I decided to join and don't regret it one day. I came back to the bay for my recruiting assignment because just like my recruiter changed my life by showing me the route in the marines, I wanted to change someone else's. To sit here and post negative comments is your right which I have volunteered to defend just like every marine and service member now and in the past have done. but to call me out saying I'm looking for fresh meat... that I don't care is one, a lie and two embarrassing. I have put in 38 marines from napa and american canyon and I know I changed there life for the better and there parents thank me, just like most of the napa community. Thanks
Sgt spurlin


You say that you didn't want to live with your parents while working as a bus boy. I am sorry you saw that or joining the military (where you were subject to so much stress and violence) was your only option. I feel like society has let you down, if you feel that joining into a system based on violence seems attractive. It breaks my heart that this happened to you and that you don't see that it is wrong to continue the victimization. We have failed you.


At age 18 thy are no longer kids, they are adults making their own decisions. There is nothing wrong with serving in the military. But fyi, there is always a grace period. The process for joining the military can be quite long, and people do change their minds. I joined the army at 18 and waited 9 months. After I got out I joined the coast guard reserve and waited 6 months to start. The military gave me the experience needed to be hired by a top energy company where I'm competitive with people twice my age. I also make enough money to work part time and put myself through school full time to pursue my bachelors degree at a top university. If i didnt join the military i would have suffered, financially, emotionally, socially. I would never had made it to college. Absolutely recruiters should be allowed on school campuses.


VDL, where do you stand on drafting kids right out of high school like they did in the 60's. At least these kids have a choice.


I agree with the commenter that said it's wrong for the military to be involved there. That recruiter doesn't care about that kid, he's got a quota to meet.

I get why they want to attend, they need fresh meat for our oil wars, but we should ban them.

I would say this to the young man that's in the photo talking to the Marine:

I understand why you are tempted, you're trying to make a better future for yourself. Meanwhile, you probably already understand that you could be killed, but have you thought about the possibility that you will be ordered to kill someone?

Do you want to carry that around with you the rest of your life?


I think it's wrong for the military to show up on high school campuses for recruiting purposes. These teens are vulnerable at this stage of life and may make impulsive decisions that they will regret.

Anyone who signs up with the military who's under the age of 20 should have a grace period of 8 weeks to change their minds. Joining the military is not the equivalent of getting a job at a bank or winery that you can walk away from if things don't work out. The military owns these kids after signing up, and at age 18, it's pretty easy being manipulated by recruiters who are very well trained salesmen.

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