Students at Hagen Jr. High School learned about the energy industry during a two-day energy conference at the school this week.

On Wednesday, seventh graders learned about energy-based careers and on Thursday the eighth graders will have a chance to speak to representatives from different energy sectors.

Trista Dakken, seventh grade counselor at Hagen, said that she felt it was important for students to have the opportunity to attend a conference, like the one at Bismarck State College.

"BSC puts on an energy conference, and I took three or four kids this year and last year, and I thought, 'This is so awesome. I want all of my students to be able to experience this,'" Dakken said.

Principal Marcus Lewton said that when he was approached by Dakken and Amanda Kuhn, eighth grade counselor, he thought it was a great idea to bring to students.

"Middle school is about exploration, so giving kids opportunities to see all of the things that are out there for them. ... This is just one good example of local things that can keep kids right here in North Dakota, and they can have high-paying jobs and support their families," he said. "When you have good people like (Dakken and Kuhn), you just give them the ability to do what's best for the kids."

Students not only listened to professionals explain their job roles, but there were hands-on activities for them too. Students tried their hand at a simulated driving scenario, hoisted a classmate up as if they were being rescued from a mine and tried on lineman gear, among other activities.

Que Dakken's father Joshua was one of the presenters on Wednesday for the rescue drill and while Que already knew most of what his dad spoke about, the 12-year-old said it was still a fun end to their day.

"(It's) way more fun than testing," he said.

Lewton agreed and said having conferences at the end of a testing day keeps students from having an already broken schedule and trying to fit in short 20-minute classes to finish out the day.

Students rotated to three different areas where they listened to professionals and were encouraged to ask them how much they make, what they enjoy about the job and what they do not enjoy about the job.

"I think it's a really unique opportunity for them because I think this is something most kids wouldn't get," Kuhn said. "And even if they don't go into those careers, I think just the education piece and understanding the careers in energy and the hands-on learning is an opportunity for them."