Career Day inspires students to dream for big jobs

Photo by Rick Harris
Fifth Grade students pay close attention to Lesley Jenkins as she describes her job as a county reporter at the Elizabethton Star.

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff
Remember when you were a little kid and all you wanted to be when you grew up was a fireman or a police officer? Nowadays, students are not only being educated about math and science, but also learning what careers they can choose years before they graduate high school.
Cloudland Elementary School hosted its annual Career Day on Oct. 23. Grades Headstart through sixth, except first grade, invited professionals from different fields to speak in their classrooms. A dentist, laboratory technician, reporter, photographer, race car driver, bank representative, nurse, greenhouse employee, wildlife resource officer and a home interior representative made stops into different classrooms to discuss their professions and answer questions.
After professionals gave their job descriptions, students in Phyllis Postan's 5th grade class, for example, made a variety of decisions. Laura, Katie and D.J. want to be teachers. Tyler wants to be like his dad and work in construction. Some college will be happy to accept Jeremiah who wants to be a computer technician. Archeology is the field that Dylan wants to explore, because he said, "when I was little I always liked dinosaurs."
Cassidy wants to be a professional basketball player after she attends King College with Rebecca, who wants to be a doctor, but she hasn't decided on what field of medicine she wants to study.
Nikki is going to work with Dr. Rebecca as a nurse.
In the future, all the students will enjoy watching an Atlanta Braves game where they will see their former classmate, Tyler, who wants to play in centerfield. Another student who aspires to play professional sports is Josh, who wants to play quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.
A unique answer came from, Brittany, who wants to be a machinist. "I am going to work on metal and parts for cars. I just like to put together bolts and showing people how to fix cars. I help my Papaw fix cars."
One boy aspires to be two things, a photographer and a fighter jet pilot, "because I like to go really, really fast," said Cody.
But one student's answer topped all others. Derek wants "to be a professional dirt bike rider, a professional skate boarder and a welder." He also wants to attend Harvard University.
The majority of the class wants to attend East Tennessee State University, but a few said they want to travel a bit and plan to enroll in schools such as Louisiana State University, King College, Auburn University, Florida State University, Lees McCrae College and Harvard University.
Principal Dawn Winters said, "I would say it (Career Day) is pretty successful in opening the kids eyes. They ask questions and usually they think about what their mom and dad have been and this gives them a broader picture of what they can be."
"I would like to get even more people in next year. But that is the good thing, since we do it every year, sooner or later they will see a little bit of everybody. Were just pleased with the community support that they give us and we hope to keep on doing it in the future. Career Day is a kickoff of our red-ribbon week next week." A race car driver is scheduled to speak to the entire school about "staying drug free so the kids can make the right career choices," Winters said.
Another fifth grade teacher, Stacy Triplett, said, "Career Day is important because the kids need exposure to everything that's available to them. They need to know that they are not too young to think about it."