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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is likely the question most asked of children.
Last week, students at Spencer County Elementary were able to ponder the possibilities of that question and go beyond dreams of becoming ballerinas and astronauts.
More than two dozen people, mostly SCES parents, volunteered their time to speak about their careers – how they got started and what they liked and disliked most about their jobs. The range of occupations was as varied as the questions asked by students. There was a UPS pilot and a floral designer. In another classroom there was a wedding planner and a police officer. Across the hall, there was a jewelry designer and a scuba diver.
SCES Counselor Amy Collins said the week-long focus on careers was not entirely about helping elementary-aged children pick their lifelong path.
“We’re trying to get them to set goals,” said Collins, “not necessarily pick what they want to be.”
One of the goals expressed by Wayne Franklin, an environmental engineer for Akzo Nobel, was to stay in school.
“I want to stress to the kids the important thing is to go to college and give yourself the opportunity to travel the world,” said Franklin.
Through traveling, Franklin said he has been able to have experiences that most can only read about or see on television. His career has taken him to countries like Malaysia, Kuwait and the Netherlands. During his 30-minute talk, Franklin presented a slide show of the places he has seen. Students were especially intrigued by the monkey he photographed on the streets in Malaysia.
Collins said by opening up career possibilities for the students, it would help them realize the importance of focusing their energies on future goals.
“Our theme is ‘Work hard for what you want,’” said Collins.
The school-wide event was organized by Collins and a team of student teachers as part of an instructional education project. Included in career week was a can drive for Backpack Buddies and a dress-up day Friday when student could wear clothes and hats representing the career they are most interested in.