Colonel Smith Middle School, or CSMS, students, faculty and staff abandoned their normal class routine Friday to make room for an entire day devoted to future careers. Sixth through eighth graders each attended five classes promoting a different occupation. Ahead of time, the middle schoolers filled out surveys which scheduled them to visit their top five areas of interest.
“I would like [students] to start thinking about their future, looking at options of what’s out there [and] see what’s available,” Martha Hernandez, CSMS guidance counselor said. “It’s been really nice to have a full [Career Day] and have the administrative support and the support of the community.”
Guest speakers representing 35 different fields filled CSMS to talk about their lines of work to students. These fields included military, firefighting, law enforcement, nursing, media, theater and performing arts and many others. With the school’s technological capabilities, a few of the guest speakers held their career classes via Skype.
The virtual classes opened up students to guest speakers such as Joe Coots, an actor who talked from Los Angeles. Coots’ acting credits include TV programs like Bones, Blue Bloods, Castle and Nurse Jackie.
Jamie Pool, seventh grade language arts teacher, helped organize the Skype sessions. According to Pool, students are at an advantage academically by participating in a career day event like this one.
She explained that while the middle schoolers have an idea of what they want to do, they might not know what the job entails or how hard they have to work.
“It motivates students to work harder and helps them to focus,” she said.
According to Erin Schnitger, Fort Huachuca school liaison officer, the goal of the guest speakers is to focus on some of their past to show students how they progressed into their current jobs so students know what to do to reach their own goals.
This goal was very apparent for guest speakers like Lt. Col. Maricela Alvarado, G3/5/7, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence. Before Alvarado talked about her own career, she helped her classes map out a plan for what they needed to do after graduating CSMS, stressing the importance of excelling in high school and figuring out what path was right for them once completely out of school.
While Alvarado highlighted academic decisions, guest speakers like Susan Jacoby, CSMS school nurse, wanted students to start thinking about the cost of a higher education. Her charts showing how much nursing school costs and nurses’ salaries helped students see the realities of what lies ahead after middle school.