NEWPORT BEACH — A group of girls worked quickly, racing against a team of boys to finish first.
The two teams were each gathered in front of a limbless mannequin with exposed, removable organs, trying to connect the different body parts with their names on paper.
"Told you! Girls are smarter," said 14-year-old Natacha Vasquez when her team finished first.
Ensign Intermediate School's gym buzzed Monday and Tuesday with competitions, hands-on activities and information on different career paths for its first Vital Link Career Exploration event.
The schoolwide affair gave students a look at different opportunities in medicine, environmental design, construction, as well as the alternative fuel and automotive fields, while showing them the different community colleges and universities that can help them get there.
"We really want our middle-school students to really start thinking about high school, college and careers," said Principal Steve McLaughlin.
Vital Link is a nonprofit that works to bridge the gap between the business and education worlds while helping students find careers in fields they are not only good at, but interested in, said Executive Director Kathy Johnson.