In late April, as the Council was busy preparing for end of the year YES activities and our annual recognition breakfast, we got a welcome distraction. Former Blue Mountain YES alumni Connor Staskel and his friend ’Mystifier’ Jesse Dameron walked into our office promoting a show they had coming up at the Majestic Theater in Pottsville. Connor would be performing alongside Jesse as an Illusionist and Mind Reader.

It had been quite some time since we had last seen Connor –2012 to be exact. At that time, he was one of the few YES students that stepped forward and requested to speak at the YES breakfast. We both clearly remembered him, as it was noticeable back then that he was a gifted public speaker and communicator.

Since it’s not every day that a Mystifier, Illusionist, and Mind Reader combo comes walking into your office, we had to ask for a sample of their work. We quickly got one. “I want you to imagine a desert, stretching out as far as your eyes can see. In this desert is a cube. I want you to describe to describe the cube, what does it look like? How large is it? What is it made of? Where exactly is it?”

They continued on, asking more questions regarding the desert scene playing out in our minds before eventually revealing that each of our answers correlated to our subconscious and how we viewed the world around us. As if our minds weren’t blown away enough at that point, they then performed another trick where they asked a staff member to think about a name of someone close to them. It could’ve been family, friend, or even a co-worker. After a series of seemingly unrelated questions, they correctly guessed the exact name and the relationship to that person.

It was a very entertaining, yet rewarding experience for us watching a former YES graduate apply many of the skills he learned in the program to an unorthodox profession. It was shortly after that we decided to write this article, so we could learn more about Connor and what he’s currently doing.

While performing as an Illustionist and Mind Reader has been a great side act for Connor, he’s really making waves in his DJ and Lighting Services business. This business has been a dream of his since he was a teenager and was the driving force behind him enrolling in the YES program at Blue Mountain. “I originally enrolled in the YES program because I knew early in life that I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship,” he said. “I thought many of the topics could relate to personal motivation and drive in order to boost income.”

“Most of the topics taught in the program teach you how to act, work and perform professionally in a work environment. In addition to that, the program assists in improving your overall attitude in general. For me, I’ve used the information to build my personal DJ and lighting business.”

He was in good hands while enrolled at Blue Mountain, learning from both of the school’s long-time YES teachers Lisa Cook and Anita Imschweiler. The skills he learned from them in YES has allowed him to become successful. While taking the course and actively learning as a junior, he was already DJ-ing at prestigious venues such as the Best Western Eden Resort for the Eastern Lebanon County High School’s Prom.

The rise upward has continued beyond graduation. Most recently, he’s performed at weddings, anniversary parties, corporate gatherings, and many other events such as the Moravian College Winter Formal held at the Green Pond Country Club.

Stories like Connor’s continue to re-enforce the fact that YES is for any student, regardless of their career path. The statistics reflect this idea. According to the 2014-2015 year end survey of YES students, health care led the way with 22% of students interested in pursuing a career in that field, followed by human services at 16% and business rounding out the top three at 15%. Other fields such as the trades, education, sciences and the arts following shortly after.

So, if you’re a student interested in becoming a nurse, a welder, an accountant, or even a DJ like Connor, YES has something to offer you, as it provides a solid base of knowledge that’s fit for any job. This is something that he noted in our interview.

“If a student is considering enrolling in the YES program, without a doubt, no thought should be necessary,” he said. “I highly recommend it no matter what their direction. The information taught in the program is essential for any career path. A huge thank you goes to the YES program, which has inspired me to achieve more success than ever imagined. I’m grateful!”

Keep up the great work Connor!

If you would like more information on Connor, be sure to check out his website at