Mazama and Bonanza high school students had a chance to ask questions and visit one-on-one with professionals from the Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health today during a special career fair event.

Bonanza junior Lucy Cassol, one of 29 students who attended from the two schools, left the event inspired about the future. As FBLA president for her rural high school, she enjoys business but isn’t sure how to pursue her passion as a career. Meeting five professionals who are doing just that reaffirmed her decision to “do something that feeds my soul,” she said.

Ambassadors on the panel were Walt Scher, director of corporate communicationsPortland Trail Blazers; Karis Stoudamire-Phillips, vice president of DEI and community initiatives, Moda Health; Zach Caffal, retail operations coordinator, Portland Trail Blazers; Lindsey Hicks, sales executive, Moda Health; and Erin Harville, brand marketing manager, Portland Trail Blazers.

The Trail Blazers and Moda were in Klamath Falls Wednesday as part of a Rip City Rally tour, which hosted a late afternoon public event featuring the Blazers’ broadcast team, dancers, and mascot at Veteran’s Memorial Park. 

The panel of five spent nearly an hour with students, answering questions and later talking with individual students. Among the messages: Get out of your comfort zone, take risks, and make connections.

Mazama Vice Principal Sergio Cisneros organized the event to provide students an opportunity to connect with and hear from professionals in a well-known organization like the Portland Trail Blazers. This is the second time the Blazers and Moda have hosted a career panel at the school.

“My goal is to introduce our students to experiences and connections that will expand their horizons and help them explore career options,” he said.

Mazama seniors Ephina Gregorio and Ava Atwood were among students who chose to attend. Ephina is in the process of figuring out what career path she wants to pursue. Atwood knows she wants to be a registered nurse and plans to attend community college after graduation. 

“My takeaway? Don’t let your anxiety stop you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone,” Ava said.  

For Ephina, the message was similar. “I need to go out and connect with people I wouldn’t normally connect with,” she said. 

Bonanza sophomore Jeremy Raygoza describes himself as a creative who wants to eventually be an independent artist. He talked with Harville, specifically asking her how – or if – a college degree could help him pursue his passion.

“I wanted to know what do I actually need to learn, and whether I could make good connections in college,” he said. “She suggested marketing and communications. That gave me a solid option to explore.” 

Six students from Bonanza traveled to Mazama for the panel this year. Bonanza High Principal Jordan Osborn believes hearing directly from career professionals about their challenges and success is important for his students.

​“For our kids to have a chance to sit down and talk one-on-one with these professionals is pretty powerful,” he said. 

Bonanza sophomore Jeremy Raygoza and Bonanza senior Lucy Cassol talk about career with Erin Harville, brand
marketing manager, Portland Trail Blazers.

Bonanza sophomore Jeremy Raygoza talks with Erin Harville, brand marketing manager, Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazer and Moda Health professionals talk one-on-one with Bonanza and Mazama students
following a career panel discussion at Mazama Sept. 20, 2023.

Career panel members (from left) Lindsey Hicks, sales executive, Moda Health; Zach Caffal, retail operations
coordinator, Portland Trail Blazers; Karis Stoudamire-Phillips, vice president of DEI and community initiatives, Moda Health; Walt
Scher, director of corporate communications, Portland Trail Blazers; and Erin Harville, brand marketing manager, Portland Trail
Blazers, answer questions from Mazama and Bonanza students