For more than a decade South Macon Elementary School Counselor Rena Sutton has made an effort to encourage elementary students to make meaningful career choices. Experts say it’s important to expose students early to the variety of options available for careers. Career Day makes this possible by connecting investigating thought with realism. South Macon’s second, third, and fourth graders participated and were allowed hands-on opportunities such as dressing- up as career professionals, crawling on fire trucks and transfer trucks, wearing surgical caps, and cranking a motor.
In preparation for this day, all SME grade levels had career classes. Third and fourth grade students had studied financial literacy to establish the need to earn a living before exploring their current interests and strengths and studied careers from that perspective. Sutton taught these “blended” lessons in the computer lab. Classroom teachers assisted with Career Day in many ways, including integration of concepts and recruitment of volunteers. Students helped create questions in order to gather information from professionals during the event.
This year many local community members, businesses, FHS career and technical Education students, civic organizations, including Franklin and Clark’s Chapel Fire Departments, Macon County Sheriff’s Department, and others attended the 2012 Annual SME Career Day. Participants prepared displays, hand-outs and interacted with students. Angel Medical Center shared a team of surgical nurses donned in surgical gear, Macon and Nantahala Banks career representatives and State Employee Credit Union’s “Fat Cat” also appeared sharing careers and financial wisdom. The arts and technology were also represented by an entertainer/designer. Southwestern Community College’s EMT instructor, TekTone Sound and Signal, Pride Promotions, and Conway Trucking demonstrated other possible career paths.
High school students became instructors by sharing their knowledge. FHS students participating were Bobby Parrish, Austin Lewis, Kaitlyn Anderson, Kaitlyn Drinnon, Cade Doolittle and Ansley Taylor. They represented manufacturing and welding, agricultural and natural resources, architecture and construction, and transportation and automotive technologies.
Positive aspects of the community were also reinforced. Community participants, including parents and past students, shared their future or current career choices and participated in student learning. Many of the adult volunteers were former students of Union, Otto, and South Macon Elementary Schools. Some of those former students were Zach Ledford, Jonathan Makinson, Holly Bradley, Stephanie Robbins, Timothy Rodriguez and Michelle Day. Timothy, Michelle, and CJ Smith took turns wearing the mask, and stayed in full gear, experiencing the heat and heaviness of the uniform needed for their jobs as firefighters.
In response to “What did you think about Career Day?” amid positive replies, one student’s voice was overheard, “One of the best days ever!”
SME staff expressed thanks to all who helped make this a fun, learning experience for the students.