Students sample careers for a day, learn from professionals

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Students at Ramona Community Montessori School were treated to eye-opening presentations on a variety of different careers recently, as parents of students who attend that school presented their professions to kindergartners through sixth-graders and answered questions. The children also dressed up for Career Day in uniforms of their choice to display their different interests in future career possibilities.

The campus was buzzing with excited students dressed as doctors, ballerinas, nurses, athletes and a pair of young sheriff’s deputies, whose uniforms mirrored that of their father’s, Deputy Chad Dollick, who works with the sheriff’s helicopter unit. The mixture of dress-up and informative presentations made the event educational as well as fun for the students.

Deputy Chad Dollick with the sheriff’s helicopter unit and his sons, Colton and Gavin Dollick, wear matching uniforms.
Deputy Chad Dollick with the sheriff’s helicopter unit and his sons, Colton and Gavin Dollick, wear matching uniforms. Kristin Bauer-Brown

Fifth- and sixth-grade teacher Nancy Lorenz said the students really enjoyed the day and learned a great deal. The diverse career presentations included an animal trainer, a detective, engineers and even a comic book illustrator.

“I was especially impressed with the questions the kids asked, because it demonstrated their interest in the ideas being presented and their speaking and listening skills,” said Lorenz. “I was also impressed with the way they made connections to what we have been learning in class and connections to their own lives.”

First-grader Tessa Lehr wants to be a professional dancer and a veterinarian when she grows up. But it was professional animal trainer Liz Beckman’s presentation that really caught her attention.

“My favorite was a girl who trained animals in water,” she said. “She showed us a video where she did a backflip off an orca!”

For Career Day, Lucy LaTour dresses as a hip hop dancer, Jack LaTour as a basketball player and Claire LaTour as a ballerina.
For Career Day, Lucy LaTour dresses as a hip hop dancer, Jack LaTour as a basketball player and Claire LaTour as a ballerina. Kristin Bauer-Brown

Sixth-grader Jack LaTour dressed up as a basketball player for Career Day, but he was most impressed with a completely different line of work presented by Investigator Mark Mercado, who works for the District Attorney’s office.

“He told us about a case that took him 12 years to solve and he finally did it, using DNA,” said Jack. “It made me think being a detective when I grow up would be very interesting.”

Sixth-grader Claire Cannon recalled the success story engineer Kemi Pavlocak told.

“When she was little, she was poor and living in Nigeria and then came here and became a space system engineer,” said Claire.

Pavlocak, who works for SPAWAR System Center Pacific, immigrated to the United States at just 4 years old and eventually discovered she was good in math and comfortable with science, which led her to a career path in the growing field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Pavlocak said she absolutely loved being a presenter on Career Day, and described it as more of a discussion with great questions from the students, who wanted to know about her education and things like why satellites are needed in space.

“I think it plays into the whole seeing is believing. It has more impact to see someone you feel you can relate to, do something you never considered or thought possible,” said Pavlocak. “Exposing the children to the immense career possibilities within STEM is critical to our community, country and planet. We need as many innovators as possible to help solve the problems of the future,” she said.

Other presenters included pediatric nurse Mary Odenwalder, radiologic technologist Samantha Moyers, paleontological specialist Rodney Hubscher, comic book illustrator Tom Long, school counselor Kristi Robertson and mechanical engineer Stephan Maher. Teachers at RCMS shared enthusiasm about the great response to Career Day and the opportunity it gave the next generation of professionals to explore future job possibilities and career choices.

“This event helped the kids become aware of some careers they might not have known existed,” said Lorenz. “They also learned some of the surprising realities of jobs that they thought they knew about.”

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