WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- More than 500 juniors and seniors from across the state are preparing for life after high school.

A career development conference was held for students who participate in JMG - Jobs for Maine Graduates - at Thomas College in Waterville. But this wasn't a typical career fair.

Students actually got to show off their skills.

Graduating high school can be intimidating.

"I'm nervous but also excited because I'm going to be leaving everything I know," said Tanner Johnson, a Madison High School senior.

But these students are ready to take it on.

"It's showing us that college really isn't as scary as we've been told or how bad we could think it is," said Ethan Votra, a Gardiner high school senior.

On Tuesday, he participated in public speaking events, which he said will prepare him for communicating with fellow students next year when he starts college.

Whatever their plans after high school, whether it be college, a trade career, a job, or the military, the 24th annual Career Development Conference lets students showcase the skills they've gained over the past few years to help them in the future.

"With the leadership skills, it's helping a lot," said Casiana Collette, a Mt. Blue senior.

Many like Casiana Collette are the first in their family to attend college.

"My mom is a single mom so it's hard for her to pay for my education...but I'm so grateful for that and she's just so proud of me for being in JMG alone she's so proud of what I've done these past few years," said Collette.

Students participated in unique team building competitions like building robots, brain busters and mock interviews.

"A lot of these competitions require a lot of the skills that they're going to need when they go into the work force so it's a lot of those transferable skills like communication, teamwork, things that are just essential to any sort of job," said Matt St. John, regional manager of JMG.

"They're here to say look what I can do. I'm ready to go out there and a chance for them to celebrate," said Lisa Gardner, director of stewardship for JMG.

As are most students, the JMG competitors said they are nervous to move on from high school, but they are looking forward to the bright future they have already started to create for themselves.

"I'm really excited to start next year and start my future and next steps," said Mickayla Willette, a high school senior.

At the end of the day, the winners of each competition take home trophies to their schools to show how dedicated they are to being community leaders.