More than 200 eighth grade students at Dupont Middle School participated in a Career Day on February 14 organized by Rotary Club of Mandarin and Junior Achievement. Twenty adults from an array of professions answered questions and gave advice during the “reverse-job shadow” format.
“We really encourage students to think about what they want to do, such as planning which electives to take in high school that will support their career interests,” said eighth grade history teacher Lynn Mickler. “This is perfect because it gives them a firsthand idea of salaries and education needed.” She added, “Kids who are less than interested in school are taking notes, writing everything down, really getting into it…the hands-on aspect of it is really great.”
Rose Marie Preddy is a member of the Mandarin Rotary and helped organize this event that will benefit the entire eighth grade at Dupont. She explained there is a good sampling of different career paths including entrepreneurs, technical jobs which require no college degree, professional careers and even dream jobs: WJXT Channel 4’s Staci Spanos was present to talk about being a news anchor and the Oakland Athletics’ John Wasdin answered questions about what it takes to be a Major League Baseball player.
According to Daniel Locke, an entrepreneur who started a roofing company, he wanted students to understand that quality service will get them far if they’re interested in starting a company in the service industry. “In the service industry, you don’t have to be smart—you just have to be better than everyone else” he said. “If one kid gets what I’m saying, that makes it worth it.”
Junior Achievement aims to excite students to dream big and reach their potential. Students gained inspiration after interviewing the various professionals—police officer, architect, public relations, nurse, prosecutor, sales, author, banker and construction are just a sample of careers they had to explore.
When asked if this day helped him decide what he wants to do as a potential career, Benjamin, an 8th grade student replied, “Yes; It showed me how important of a decision it is to decide what I want to do in my life. The baseball player told me that grades are important—good grades will get you far!”
Interested in sharing your career experience with young people? Junior Achievement needs people like you to volunteer! Contact Tiffany Mackey at 904-398-9944 ext. 230 or email Tiffany@jajax.com.