MMS students explore futures at annual Career Day
A chicken, a duck, a bunny and four dogs walked into Memorial Middle School’s gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 27. That’s not the set up to a joke nor did the school host a petting zoo; the animals were there to work, helping to demonstrate specific animal-related careers at the school’s annual Career Day. The livestock accompanied Allaire Community Farm while the dogs represented Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, just two of the approximately 50 businesses that attended the Career Day to speak about their jobs with the school’s eighth grade students.
“The purpose of Career Day is to educate our students about the various career fields and paths they need to pursue in order to reach their goals,” said Guidance Counselor Jennifer Kelly, who, along with fellow Counselors Amy Miele and Megan MacDonald and Guidance Secretary Karen Bordzuk, coordinated the event.
The school’s eighth graders spent their Language Arts period touring the gymnasium to visit the careers on display and interview representatives from the participating businesses and organizations.
“The students were given interview sheets to help them initiate a dialogue with the vendors,” Mrs. Kelly said.
Interview questions included, “What kind of training or education is required to this job,” “What subjects should I focus on to prepare me for this profession,” and “What is your typical starting salary,” among others.
“After the students completed their interview, they had to indicate whether the profession interests them and their overall impression of the career,” added Mrs. Kelly.
Each student was required to complete one in-depth interview in addition to speaking with a minimum of 10 other vendors; however, with participating businesses like radio station 105.7 the Hawk, Jenkinson’s Aquarium, Barbizon, Meridian Health Care and Surf Taco, the students maximized their time speaking with multiple vendors and learning about their careers.
Students also had the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience with businesses like Balance, Chiropractic & Wellness Center, who were offering massage therapy demonstrations and Allaire Community Farm, who allowed students to hold and/or feed their chicken, duck or bunny. Vendors like Surf Taco and Mandoli’s Custom Cake Confectionary allowed students to sample their wares, providing some unique perspective into their business while others brought tools of their trade like Sea Girt Dentistry, whose representatives distributed toothbrushes to their student interviewers.
Though the students gained valuable insight into the various careers of the participating vendors, Career Day also provided some perks to the exhibitors.
“I’ve participated in Career Day for the last few years,” said Val DeNoia, who was representing his company Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest owners of timberlands. “These students are at the point in their educations that they’re going to begin considering their future careers and I appreciate having the opportunity to introduce them to our business, and, hopefully, encourage some of them to consider possibly pursuing a future with us.”
Other professionals on hand at Career Day included Purple Iris Flower Shop, the Point Pleasant Police Department, Anderson & Campbell Funeral Home, Public Works, Pearce Interior Design, the Ocean County Library, Downtime Dive Services, OceanFirst Bank, The Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, who traveled all the way from Dover, Delaware to participate in Career Day, modern-day vaudeville magician Jack of All Spades and more.
“There were 52 different vendors representing a wide variety of careers,” said Guidance Secretary Karen Bordzuk who was responsible for securing participating businesses. “I researched different careers that I thought would appeal to all of our students. From banking to fishing, modeling to farming, dentistry, teaching, web design and comic book art, there was something for everyone.”
Superintendent of Schools Vincent S. Smith also visited Career Day, saying, “The career landscape is changing due to today’s fast-paced global economy. New professions, facilitated by technology, are being created every day, while other jobs are becoming obsolete, therefore it’s crucial to introduce students to the different occupations that will be available to them when they enter the workforce. By exposing them to different career fields at an early age we are encouraging students to begin thinking about their futures and helping them to develop a vision of what they would like to pursue as they advance through school, so they can immediately begin working, academically, toward that goal.
“The district is grateful to the participating vendors for providing our students with realistic insight into their professions and for helping them to make meaningful connections between their education and workforce demands.